Ethical Issues Related to Conducting Research

EthicalIssues Related to Conducting Research

EthicalIssues Related to Conducting Research

Theobjective of this evaluation is analyzing ethical concerns associatedwith conducting on vulnerable population such as children. The essaywill be based on a case study of a researcher collecting informationfrom a fifteen-year-old girl who has been assaulted.

Whatethical principles were violated?

Oneof the moral principles violated included “Respect for the rightsand dignity of participants”. Nursing research ethics requiresprofessionals to seek permission of participants, as well as informthem how they intend to use the data. This implies that the nurseresearcher had an obligation of seeking consent to interview theminor from her parent or guardian (Connolly, 2003). Instead, sheapproached the girl directly and requested to talk her, yet afifteen-year-old is a minor and incapable of making sound independentdecisions. Second, the researcher did not inform the minor that shecould decline participating in the interview. This explains thereason she appeared reluctant, but could not object the offer (Smith,2003).

Recognitionof participants’ time and efforts

Aresearcher should appreciate a patient’s time and effort forresponding to an interview. However, the researcher just left theminor after the meeting without informing her the way she intended touse the research or even the relevance of the study she justconducted. Furthermore, she took the patient’s blood sample withoutmaking any formal record of the procedure or even its significance(Sherlock &amp Thynne, 2010).

Theresearcher also failed to inform the respondent that she could chooseto either respond to an interview or decline either at her will,prior or during the interview. It is against the nursing ethics for aresearcher to fail providing respondents with complete informationregarding the significance of data or any other information theycollect (Munro et al., 2005).

Inthe agency where you work, what strategies could be used to preventbreaches of ethics such as the one described above?

Atthe agency where I work, we would have avoided violating the code ofethics above through seeking permission of the minor’s parentconcerning interviewing her. In case the guardian is not present, aresearcher is supposed to consult with a senior social worker in thehospital with detailed explanation regarding the significance of theinterview to the individual patient and the entire medicalfraternity. In case the researcher would need detailed assaultinformation, he or she might require seeking permission from theconcerned law enforcers (Eckstein &amp University of London, 2003).

Second,the researcher would be needed to guarantee the patientconfidentiality of the data and other private information they wouldacquire. Besides, they should inform the patients concerning theplace they intend to use the research (Sherlock &amp Thynne, 2010).


Ifa nurse identifies a practice difference between a regular operationprocedure and process that may harm patient results, he or she issupposed to take action that protects the patient and ensures theperson involved receives appropriate assistance designed to help themregain their competence. The nurse can accomplish this objective byinforming the supervisor in charge concerning a given nurse. However,if the situation demands urgency, a nurse can confront the person ina friendly and professional manner. The Code of Nursing ethicsrecommends individuals confronting their colleagues regardingquestionable nursing procedures to follow principles set out in theirrespective organizations. Furthermore, ethical nurses should assisttheir colleagues in case they suspect they have mental issues(Sherlock &ampThynne, 2010). For example, the nurse working at thepsychiatric unit should have confronted the nurse researcherinterviewing the girl. She should have requested her to acquirepermission from the head of social work in the facility prior tointerviewing the girl. Alternatively, she could have requested theresearcher nurse to wait for the parents of the minor so that theycould give her consent to interview their daughter. Although shereported the case to the management, she should have informed themanagement that the researcher was interviewing a minor for researchwithout following the defined ethical principles (Eckstein &ampUniversity of London, 2003).

Individualpatient needs and preferences may affect execution of a research. Forexample, the young girl was hesitant to accept answering the nurse’squestions, as she was not certain whether it was appropriate. On theother hand, the family of the abused girl could also determine theoutcome of the case as either they could grant the nurse researcherpermission to interview their daughter or they could still declinethe interview. Family preference could have prevailed since the girlinvolved is a minor thus, her guardians had absolute power toprevent the researcher from interviewing their daughter. On thecontrary, the family could grant consent to the researcher tointerview their minor to gather information for her research(Sherlock &ampThynne, 2010).


Smith,D. (2003). Five principles for research ethics. AmericanPsychological Association,34(1). P.56.

Connolly,P. (2003), Ethical Principles for researching vulnerable groups.University of Ulster, web, retrieved on December 15, 2014 from!/fileManager/EthicsPr-Vulnerable.pdf

Sherlock,C. &ampThynne, C. (2010), Research with Vulnerable Groups:Collaboration as an Ethical Response. Journalof Social Work Values and Ethics,7(10): 1-11.

Munro,E.R., Holmes, L. &ampWard, H. (2005). ResearchingVulnerable Groups: Ethical Issues and the Effective Conduct ofResearch in Local Authorities. British Journal of Social Work,35(7). Pp. 1023-1038.

Eckstein,S., &amp University of London. (2003). Manualfor research ethics committees.Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.