Ethics concern with all the human interaction, including human research (Australian Vice-Chancellor’s committee, 2007). Educational research is a part of human research which has potential ethical problems. Therefore, “Each stage in the research sequence may be a potential source of ethical problems (Cohen, et.al, 2000, p.49). There are “three primary ethical principles: (1)autonomy and self-determination, (2) beneficence, (3) Justice” (Antle & Regehr, 2003, p.136). “Ethical concerns arise in connection with core values the researcher holds, as in the case of honesty or justice (Kakabadse, Kakabadse, & Kouzmin, 2002, p.107). Therefore, the researchers feel that the ethical rules will limit their effectiveness doing research (Burns, 1996). However, the ethics is the part important of the research process. Therefore, in my research, I try to investigate it carefully to cope with the ethical problems. There are several ethical issues while I am conducting my research: access and acceptance, informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, misinterpretation and misrepresenting of data.
The first ethical issue is access and acceptance. “The initial stage of research project-that of access to the institution or organization where the research to be conducted, and acceptance by those whose permission one needs before embarking the task” (Cohen, et.al., 2000, p.53). Furthermore, “access to personal records, both as a primary or secondary source of data, must be approached both ethically and legally (Anderson & Arsenault, 1998, p.21). In this research, I will investigate the laboratory activities in my university, interview my colleagues, analytical chemistry lecturers, students, my assistants, and laboratory staff, analyze some official documents such as a practicum book and students’ experiment report. Therefore, I need to get the permission from my head department to do this research. I will inform the information about the aims, nature and procedures of this research (Cohen, et.al., 2000). I hope that the information will help me to get access and acceptance to my research. Through this access and acceptance, I can do the interviews which will be done through the emails, and my assistant will send the documents and the practicum book through mail. I also need stories from others who help me apply green chemistry approaches and metacognitive skills. Therefore, I need to get access and acceptance. I realize that “achieving goodwill and co-operation is especially important where the proposed research extends over a period time” (Cohen, et.al., 2000, p.54).
The informed consent (see appendix 1.) will offer the information to the participants about “the nature and the purpose of the research, the risks, and benefits” (Anderson & Arsenault, 1998, p.18). Furthermore, “Informed consent is a central canon of research ethics policy ( Halse & Honey, 2005, p. 2148). According to Anderson & Arsenault (1998), my informed consent will involves the purpose of the research, risks and discomfort, benefits, participant’s right and statement. I realize that my informed consent have to “ensure the individual’s mental capacity, disclose sufficient information, provide suffiecient time and privacy, provide the safeguard, ensure the individual’s awareness” (Antle & Regehr, 2003, p.137).
My research will involve the semistructured interviews such as participants’ opionion, subjectivity, relationship, and life story. I try to meet the ethics requirements through giving list of interview questions for my participants (see appendix 2 for interview protocol). I also will give information of the time consuming and the process of interviews.
Privacy and confidentially need to be addressed. I will explore the phenomenon of my students’ opinions and behaviours when I applied metacognitive skills and green chemistry approaches. Some stories will be related with their personal experiences, such as their misunderstanding. Therefore, I have to respect their individual privacy. “It is the duty of researcher to protect the identity of individuals, there is a distinction between one’s public role and private life” (Anderson & Arsenault, 1998, p.21). I also have to be aware with my institution privacy, because I will describe some of the weakness of the laboratory in my department such as safety and management. “ Having emphaty can be beneficial in research…if [the confidential information is] not handle correctly, can cause discomfort and even a job loss” ( Goffee & Jones, 2000 as cited in Kakabadse, Kakabadse, & Kouzmin, 2002, p.122). Keeping the participants and institution as anonymous as possible, using the promise of confidential (Anderson & Arsenault, 1998; Cohen, et.al, 2000). I also have to protect my privacy which related with my professional development. The risk that I will face is investigating the background of applying green chemistry approaches. I need to describe how the weakness of safety and management in laboratory, such as using the dangerous chemical substances. The story will relate to the reputation of university and some people who include in this story. It is also related to my professional development as a lecturer when I am back to my university. However, the story is very important because the accident which caused me poisoned, motivated me to improve the quality of the laboratory such as using green chemistry approaches. Therefore, I need to use the appropriate language to describe it properly. I also need to protect the name and the way to access the private information. In addition, I will use pseudonym through changing my participants’ name. Hence, the information will not be published or used for any other purposes from this research.
Adequate interpretation and representation of data must be addressed. My subjectivity can influence the research process and the possibility of interpretation and respresentation of data (Kakabadse, Kakabadse, & Kouzmin, 2002). I realize that I have to remember my experiences one year ago when I applied metacognitive skills and green chemistry approaches. It is not only difficult for me to interpret my experiences but also other peoples’ perspective and behaviour. Therefore, I will ask them to write the stories on the same phenomena to check my stories from a different perspective. This form of member checking will be important to avoid the misinterpretation of my stories. This collaboration will reduce “the potential gap between narrative told and narrative reported” (Clandini & Connelly, 2000 as cited in Creswell, 2005, p. 483). The narrative inquiry is the predominant method that I will use in this research. Therefore, my stories and other people’s stories will be represented to answer my research questions. I have to be aware that I cannot only focus to answer my research questions but also I have to outweigh the risks and benefits to professional development, my institution participants, and myself. Therefore, I will ask my participants to comment on relevant parts of my report which represent their perceptions, behaviour and cultural context (Cohen, et.al, 2000). Therefore, I need to “be compassionate to individuals and avoid language that discriminates on basis of gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnic group” (Creswell, 2005, p.11). The appropriate language will help me to avoid this conflict.