A research study is defined as an activity involving collection of data with an aim of solving a specific selected problem. The above is followed by recording of the data then subsequently its analysis so as to arrive at meanings. Finally the results are generalized so as to make the findings applicable to whole populations and therefore deductions as well as suggestions also known as recommendations.
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Finally the researcher makes conclusions which are an opinion which expresses the researchers stand concerning the research problem.
A researcher should ensure that the suitable data collection instruments and methods are used. The suitable data analysis techniques should be employed so as to enable the researcher draw the relevant conclusions of a study. A research study involves costs, which are incurred in various ways including data collection, carrying out interviews as well as costs associated with data analysis. In any given research study there is usually an involvement of usually three or more groups of participants. The participants include the researcher, the respondent and the sponsor.
For a marketing research, the sponsor is usually the supplier. Research studies require that some ethical norms be considered to ensure that the research being carried out is meets ethical standards as well as regulations guiding various professions. These ethical norms are usually observed with reference to the rights and obligations of each participant in a research. In any given study, the researcher is supposed to adhere to ethical norms something aimed at ensuring that, the research does not interfe with peoples fundamentals rights no harm the research subjects in any way.
All particiapants in a research are required to adhere to the given regulations in their interactions amongst themselves as well as in their interactions to the public in whose midst the research is conducted. When handling the respondent a researcher should apply certain ethical norms in order to observe and guarantee the respect of respondent’s rights. Such respondent’s rights in an interview can include amongst others: (i) Informed consent – it’s the right of the respondent to be informed about a certain research to be carried out and that the respondent is supposed to be a participant.
The researcher is obliged to respect the respondent and give details of the research study. With an informed consent, the relationship between the researcher and that of the respondent is enhanced something which results into a good working rapport hence contributing to the success of the research study. Incases of lack of consent before a research begins co-operation lacks in the data collection process and therefore chances that the data gathered may be unreliable become high. (ii) Confidentiality – Ethical norms dictate that the respondent should be treated with a sense of confidentiality in handling the respondents’ information.
The respondents’ information should not be exposed to third parties or used for purposes other than those for which consent was sought for. The information obtained from the respondent should be given to the right person. Incase of a marketing research the supplier should get the information. The researcher should make sure that he/she remains truthful and ensure that he /she does not expose the respondents’ information (Dooley, 2002, P160-170). (iii) Anonymity – It is the right of the respondent to maintain his or her anonymity. Anonymity refers to the concealing of the respondent’s identity.
It is the right of the respondent to decide about his identity hence the researcher should respect that decision. The researcher should not disclose the identity of the respondent when the instructions demand so. The researcher should posses the value of promise keeping so as to succeed (Emerson 1990, P89-103) The researcher should be able to be responsible when handling the respondents’ identity. He/she should not be able to misplace any documents containing the respondents details this would contravene the respondents right to immunity. The researcher should be honest to the extent of involvement of respondent in the research study.
The researcher should inform the respondent whether there is any risk of harm involved. This will help the respondent in preparing himself or herself. This honesty should not be compromised. This point to the obligation of the researcher in taking into consideration the respondent’s safety. The researcher has the obligation towards the research staff. Ethical issues will enable him or her handle the research team as per the ethical norms (Gray 2003 p 67-83) The researcher should be honest towards the research staff in terms of their remuneration.
The researcher should also consider the safety of the research team. He or she should ensure that no acts of negligence or carelessness should occur which might cause safety risk of the research team. The researcher should also ensure that he or she practices patience while handling the respondent, the research team and also the sponsor (incase of a market research study; the supplier) Patience will be required in negotiations and discussions since a research study mostly involves teamwork. Each participant in a research study usually has a set of obligations to be taken care of.
The researcher usually has an obligation towards the supplier who is the sponsor of a research study. The researcher is supposed to achieve these obligations through the guidance of ethical norms. The obligations of the researcher to the sponsor executable through application of ethical norms include: (i) Obligation to submit a conclusive research study worthy of the cost paid. The sponsor usually takes more of the research cost; therefore the researcher has to submit research work, which is worthy the amount paid for. To succeed in these obligations the researcher should remain honest.
The researcher should be ready to account for the research project to the satisfaction of the sponsor; In the case of a marketing research the supplier ***** (ii) The researcher has the obligation of submitting the researcher has the obligation of submitting the research work within the specified time frame. This obligation requires that the researcher posses the quality of commitment. The researcher should be truthful in giving the expected time for completion of the research work. (iii) The researcher has the obligation of submitting research work of the right quality.
The supplier or sponsor will expect the researcher to carry out a research study, which serves the purpose. This will include use of the suitable data collection methods, proper analysis and reasonable conclusions drawn. The supplier (sponsor) will expect the researcher to provide him or her with the suitable data evaluation techniques so that he may be able to understand well the research work (flick 1983 p 10-26) We must be aware of the fact that the sponsor who is usually the supplier in a market research study has an obligation towards the researcher.
The sponsor has to be honest towards the researcher in terms of the scope of the research work required. He should not exaggerate on details required in a research study, which might be out of scope. Failure to be honest the researcher will definitely submit irrelevant information upon research (Johnson 1985 p 17-36) The supplier (sponsor) should remain truthful about the research costs. The sponsor should clear the costs of research and also remunerate the researcher. The supplier should not create complications after the research work has been completed.
This would contravene the researcher’s right of remuneration. CONCLUSION Research studies are aimed at alleviating certain problem or learning more about a specific problem. For any research study to be successful the participants should be able to co-operate well towards attainment of the research objective. This co-operation will be brought about by each participant playing his or her role under the guidance of the ethical issues required in a research study. The ethical issues shouldn’t be largely dependent on the specific participants’ rights and obligations.