While as a teacher-researcher (undertaking research in your own classroom or school) you are not required to go through any formal ethics process, it is still critical that you think about the ethical implications of your research.
Ethics In Your Own ResearchMiles and Huberman (1994) suggest that to mitigate ethical issues it is not only necessary to follow the ethical guidelines of your particular institution but also to consider why the study is worth doing and how it will contribute in some significant way to the broader domain. Tracy (2010) further advocates ensuring the worthiness of the topic of study and considering the significance of the contribution it will make to the research field or to practice.
Therefore, when planning any inquiry projects in your own practice it is helpful to think carefully about the purpose of your inquiry. Think about what your research might be able to contribute and to whom, and also how you will disseminate and share the findings of your research.
Research ethics are important for:
Protecting others (particularly the participants in your study) and minimising harm
Ensuring trust from those we work with
Promoting integrity of the research
Reconciling the responsibilities to participants, research and other communities involved
The British Educational Research Association (BERA) states that all education research should be conducted within an ethic of respect for:
The quality of educational research
The key principles of research ethics are: Voluntary informed consent. That is, participants have the right to opt in and opt out of the research and may not be forced or coerced into participating. Issues of consent are particularly important when working with children and generally require more rigorous consent procedures (often including a parent or guardian giving consent on behalf of the child).
Avoid deception. The aims and nature of the research must be clearly and accurately articulated to those involved.
The right to withdraw. All participants must have the right to withdraw from a study at any stage. If a participant withdraws, none of the data previously collected on them can be included.
Avoid detriment to participants.
Respect Privacy. This often includes ensuring anonymity for participants.
Aim to debrief participants.