Research is not a simple process that only comprises of data collecting, analysing and reporting. In fact, it is a complex process where the students need to follow a proper set of guidelines and research ethics as well. Research ethics and ethical neutrality is an effort to maintain the quality of research globally. It sets rules to conserve the rights of researchers, participants and even the research community as a whole. In this regard, this article will discuss the meaning of ethical neutrality, its importance in the research process and proper ways to maintain ethical neutrality in research.
What does ethical neutrality mean?
Research ethics are important as they provide the researcher or a community with information about the research specific norms necessary to conduct research. The ethical considerations help the research community in developing ethical discretion and reflection to promote good quality standards in research. By flipping the scenarios, they also help the community avoid scientific misconduct. Furthermore, the rules set by the ethical committee of research are necessary for the researchers to follow during planning, designing and publishing or reporting results and findings of a research.
Research ethics refer to all values, beliefs, norms, and agreements that researchers are bound to follow during research reporting and publications. In a single sentence, research ethics aim to build a system to ensure scientific morality in practice. The guidelines for research ethics suggest norms and values that lay the foundation of research and development. In the same way, ethical neutrality in research refers to a norm that the researcher must neglect his personal briefs, values and choices while conducting research. In simple words, ethical neutrality is a concept of following the rules set by the research committee to solve a scientific problem. Therefore, ethical neutrality in research is also based on the general ethics of science. However, this is also a fact that PHD dissertation writing services are much helpful to maintain it.
What is ethical neutrality in research?
As explained in the previous section, ethical neutrality in research is the act of following the research ethics to meet the required standards of research. In simple words, ethical neutrality in research is a deliberate effort of the researchers to avoid biasness, plagiarism, fake results’ interpretation and other scientific misconducts. In sociology, another closely related term named ‘value neutrality’ is used in research. The value neutrality deals with only one aspect of scientific research that is biasness. The concept of value neutrality is that the researcher must set aside his personal beliefs, religious norms and personal objectives while conducting research. But ethical neutrality in research is a relativelybroader term that deals with other ethical issues like consent, privacy and fake reporting as well.
2.1 Ethical neutrality in terms of privacy concerns
In social sciences research, one important ethical concern is to care for the privacy of the respondents. In this context, researchers should protect the privacy of the respondents whenever possible. Researchers are advised not to share the data of participants gathered to solve a scientific query with any other organisation and individual.
Ethical neutrality in terms of fake results’ interpretation and reporting
In terms of fake results’ interpretation and reporting, ethical neutrality deals with the falsification in research. In simple terms, a falsification is an act of manipulation of research material, process, equipment, and changes in results just for publishing a paper. Moreover, the falsification often is more offensive scientific misconduct as it undermines the trust on which the whole science is based.
Ethical neutrality in terms of research consents
Research or informed consent is a type of communication between the researcher and the participants. In research, the objective of informed consent is to tell every minor detail to the respondent about the research. This research ethic demands researchers to tell participants about the potential risk, the protocol and the methods they will use to solve the data. The researchers are only able to take data from any participant if he/she agrees after knowing about the research. Forced data collection without getting informed consent is a scientific misconduct.
2.4 Ethical neutrality in terms of biasness
Biasness is another important research ethic that researchers should avoid during research. In terms of ethical neutrality, biasness is an act of taking into account your personal choices, beliefs and ideologies in data collection and interpretation. According to some sociologists, it is highly inappropriate to let personal values change your findings.
These four types of ethical neutrality in research aim to inform researchers to avoid all scientific misconduct. The information about research ethics and ethical neutrality is not enough in social sciences, but researchers must also know how to maintain neutrality in research.
How do you maintain neutrality in research?
On the one hand, sociologists emphasise on the importance of value or ethical neutrality. On the other hand, many of them argue that completely setting aside personal values in research is near to impossible. To some extent, moral values, cultural aspects and even the individual research setup have inevitable effects on results’ interpretation. Therefore, ethical neutrality does not mean avoiding personal opinions while conducting research. In reality, ethical neutrality means the researcher must strive to overcome biasness, especially personal errors and subconscious biases while analysing and reporting research.
Ethical neutrality is no doubt difficult to maintain in many cases. We cannot deliberately avoid all personal biasness in some cases. Thus, in such scenarios, researchers are advised to avoid certain activities to maintain ethical in research. Some of these activities include avoiding skewing data to get the expected results and involving political or other agendas to gain long term personal benefits. According to ethical neutrality, the researchers are ethically bound to report the real finding even if they found it contradictory to other researches. They should take the informed consent and participant’s privacy at the top to guarantee ethical neutrality. At last, honest means of analyses and reporting are other ways to maintain neutrality in research.
Consequently, ethical neutrality is the responsibility of students and researchers that they must take into account while conducting research. In short, by getting informed consent, neglecting personal values as much as possible, avoiding plagiarism, and honestly reporting the actual finding, you can maintain ethical neutrality in research. For more information, you can follow ethics’ guidelines in researches to avoid scientific misconduct.