Category: Research Ethics

Diary of an app! Will using mobile devices in qualitative research become the norm?

Researchers have been asking participants to record their experiences and thoughts in traditional, paper-based diaries for many years. But the advent of digital technologies, especially apps for mobile devices, has encouraged some to ask whether these could become the new norm for capturing diary-based data for qualitative research. Laura Radcliffe and Leighann Spencer have pioneered the use of diary apps […]

How people feel about what companies do with their data is just as important as what they know about it

The recent revelation that Cambridge Analytica was able to acquire the Facebook data of 50 million people has led to a surge of interest and questions around what companies do with people’s data. Amidst all of this, little attention has been paid to the feelings of those whose data are used, shared, and acted upon. According to Helen Kennedy, more […]

False investigators and coercive citation are widespread in academic research

A recent study has revealed widespread unethical behaviour in academic research. Allen Wilhite focuses on two activities in particular; the addition to funding proposals of investigators not expected to contribute to the research, and editors who coerce authors to add citations to manuscripts even though those citations were not part of the scholars’ reference material. Research institutions, funders, rankings bodies, and scholars […]

Ever wondered why practitioners treat researchers like a nuisance? The challenges of accessing expert knowledge, from both perspectives

The difficulty of reaching practitioners and experts is one of the main challenges faced by early-career researchers in particular, and one that can overshadow fieldwork experiences and attempts to produce new knowledge. While researchers might feel that they are being ignored or treated as a nuisance by experts, the latter often have a different view of researchers’ attempt to reach […]

Five lessons for researchers who want to collaborate with governments and development organisations but avoid the common pitfalls

The appeal of collaborating with a government agency, or an organisation funded by one, seems obvious. It provides researchers with much needed resources and information, while also offering practitioners and policymakers a way of generating the evidence needed to design better programmes. In practice, however, it’s not always easy to make collaborative research work well. Susan Dodsworth and Nic Cheeseman […]

Book Review: Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing edited by Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean

In Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing, editors Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean offer a collection that seeks to open up the possibilities for ethnographic research by approaching writing as a “material adventure”. As the volume grapples with longstanding questions regarding the ethical challenges of capturing one’s subjects in language, Fawzia Haeri Mazanderani nonetheless finds this a moving reminder of the power of words to enable entry into […]

Book Review: Research and Evaluation for Busy Students and Practitioners: A Time-Saving Guide (2nd Ed.) by Helen Kara

In this new second edition of Research and Evaluation for Busy Students and Practitioners: A Time-Saving Guide, Helen Kara offers a book for students, researchers and practitioners looking to manage their time effectively and maintain a good work-life balance whilst undertaking methodologically and ethically robust social research and evaluation projects. This is a well-written and clear guide that will trigger self-reflection and boost confidence, […]

Minor, substantial or wholesale amendments: it’s time to rethink changes to published articles and avoid unnecessary stigma

The present system of labelling changes made to published articles is confusing, inconsistently applied, and out of step with digital publishing. It carries negative connotations for authors, editors, and publishers. Is there a way to efficiently and neutrally flag a change to a published article in a way that says what happened that is separated from why it happened? Virginia […]

With great power comes great responsibility: crowdsourcing raises methodological and ethical questions for academia

Crowdsourcing offers researchers ready access to large numbers of participants, while enabling the processing of huge, unique datasets. However, the power of crowdsourcing raises several issues, including whether or not what initially emerged as a business practice can be transformed into a sound research method. Isabell Stamm and Lina Eklund argue that the complexities of managing large numbers of people […]

University students are buying assignments – what could, or should, be done about it?

‘Contract cheating’, whereby students pay companies to complete assignments on their behalf, threatens to seriously undermine higher education standards. Philip M. Newton and Michael J. Draper consider what might be done to tackle this issue, including the Quality Assurance Agency’s suggestion of deploying the UK Fraud Act (2006). While questions remains as to whether the Fraud Act is likely to […]