Research Ethics and Guidlines
Research ethics are the set of ethical guidelines that guides us on how scientific research should
be conducted and disseminated. It governs the standards of conduct for scientific researchers. It
is the guideline for responsibly conducting the research. Research that implicates human subjects
or contributors rears distinctive and multifaceted ethical, legitimate, communal and
Research ethics is unambiguously concerned in the examination of ethical issues that are
upraised when individuals are involved as participants in the study.
Research ethics provides guidelines for the responsible conduct of research. In addition, it
educates and monitors scientists conducting research to ensure a high ethical standard. The
following is a general summary of some ethical principles
Summarizing the principles of research ethics
We can generally summarize these principles by categorizing into five categories.
1. Minimizing the risk of harmful practices
It is necessary to minimize any sort of harm to the participants. There are a number of forms of
harm that participants can be exposed to. They are:
1. Bodily harm to contributors.
2. Psychological agony and embarrassment.
3. Social drawback.
4. Violation of participant’s confidentiality and privacy.
In order to minimize the risk of harm, the researcher/data collector should:
1. Obtain informed consent from participants.
2. Protecting anonymity and confidentiality of participants.
3. Avoiding misleading practices when planning research.
4. Providing participants with the right to withdraw.
2. Obtaining informed consent
One of the fundamentals of research ethics is the notion of informed consent.
Informed consent means that a person knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently gives consent to
participate in a research.
Informed consent means that the participants should be well-informed about the:
1. Introduction and objective of the research
2. Purpose of the discussion
3. Anticipated advantages, benefits/harm from the research (if any)
4. Their role in research
5. Methods which will be used to protect anonymity and confidentiality of the participant
6. Freedom to not answer any question/withdraw from the research
7. Who to contact if the participant need additional information about the research
3. Protecting anonymity and confidentiality
Protecting the anonymity and confidentiality of research participants is an additionally applied
constituent of research ethics.
Protecting anonymity: It means keeping the participant anonymous. It involves not revealing the
name, caste or any other information about the participants that may reveal his/her identity.
Maintaining confidentiality: It refers to ensuring that the information given by the participant are
confidential and not shared with anyone, except the research team. It is also about keeping the
information secretly from other people
4. Avoiding misleading practices
1. The researcher should avoid all the deceptive and misleading practices that might
misinform the respondent.
2. It includes avoiding all the activities like communicating wrong messages, giving false
assurance, giving false information etc.
5. Providing the right to withdraw of the participants
1. Participants have to have the right to withdraw at any point of the research.
2. When any respondent decides on to withdraw from the research, they should not be
stressed or forced in any manner to try to discontinue them from withdrawing.
Apart from the above-mentioned ethics, other ethical aspects things that must be considered
while doing research are:
Protection of vulnerable groups of people:
1. Vulnerability is one distinctive feature of people incapable to protect their moralities and
wellbeing. Vulnerable groups comprise captive populations (detainees, established,
students, etc.), mentally ill persons, and aged people, children, critically ill or dying,
poor, with learning incapacities, sedated or insensible.
2. Their participation in research can be endorsed to their incapability to give an informed
consent and to the need for their further safety and sensitivity from the
research/researcher as they are in a greater risk of being betrayed, exposed or forced to
Skills of the researcher:
1. Researchers should have the basic skills and familiarity for the specific study to be
carried out and be conscious of the bounds of personal competence in research.
2. Any lack of knowledge in the area under research must be clearly specified.
3. Inexperienced researchers should work under qualified supervision that has to be revised
by an ethics commission.
Research misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or
reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Our research and development automatically
rejects if found any of these research misconducts
Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or
omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.
Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without
giving appropriate credit.
N.B:- research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.
Read more about research ethics from these research associations (references)
These links are helpful to deepen the knowledge of carrying out an ethical research.
o American Psychological Association
o Association of Social Anthropologists, UK
o Australian Government
o The Economic and Social Research Council, UK
o Addis Ababa University Research Institutes
Research proposal preparation and submission guideline
A research proposal is a simply a structured, formal document that explains what you plan to research (i.e. your research topic), why it’s worth researching (i.e. your justification), and how you plan to investigate it (i.e. your practical approach).
The purpose of the research proposal is to convince your research supervisor, committee or client that your research is suitable (for the requirements) and manageable (given the time and resource constraints you will face).
o It is a detailed plan of your study.
o It is a document which sets out your ideas in an easily accessible way.
o The intent of written proposal is to present a focused and scholarly presentation of a research problem and plan.
o The objective is to describe what you will do, why it should be done, how you will do it, and what you expect will result.
Process in a research proposal development
You may need to go through some steps to develop a clear and desirable research proposal. These are called the sections of research proposal. In general speaking, the research proposal sections should answer some important question in the research.
Basically the research proposal shall answer the following questions
o What do you want to do? – Research Topic
o Why do you want to do it? – Statement of the Problem
o Why is it important? – significance of the study
o Who has done similar work? – background/Literature Review
o How are you going to do it? –methodology
o How long will it take? –work plan
o How much it requires? – Budget
You can download the full guideline of research proposal preparation and submission of Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP). It is helpful to follow the guideline when participating in call for proposals in the company.