Research Methods: Considering Ethics in your research

Eira Patterson | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Application of ideas: An opportunity to explore ethical issues

Below are scenarios from actual research which provide you with opportunities to reflect on potential ethical issues that may arise in practice:

Examples from research

What is the nature of the ethical issue?

Action that could to be taken to address the ethical issue

A study was carried out into the impact of creative contexts on children’s engagement in science enquiry activities. Due to time constraints it was only possible to carry out the research with a small proportion of the children within a school. The findings of the study reported that the use of creative contexts had a positive impact on children’s engagement in science enquiry. 


Research into teacher questioning behaviours involved interviewing the teachers about their use of questioning in lessons, followed by observation of questioning behaviours in lessons. In the findings there was a discrepancy between teachers’ perceptions of their use of open questions established and what observed by the researcher.


A project was set up to analyse social networks through interviewing individuals to discuss their perceptions of their roles in social networks. The interview stage was followed by a mapping exercise involving participants in physically recording their social network, using concentric circles to indicate the closeness of relationships (with the interviewee in the centre). It was observed by the researcher that what participants the nature or extent of the social network that participants described in interview was often challenged when they began making a physical representation of their social network and this resulted in embarrassment and reluctance to be involved further in the research.