Part 1: Ethics in Research
Utilizing the Internet, CTU Library, and your textbook, choose 1 example (or use one of those listed below) of unethical research in a business setting, and discuss the following:
Explain why research might be considered unethical.
For your research proposal project in this course, explain what ethical considerations there are and how to avoid them.
Examples of unethical business research:
Research ethics has gained popularity in recent days due to actions and practices of different parties when conducting research. Research ethics entails recognizing and adhering to the norms, values, and research requirements. Research should be conducted per the recognized artistic, scientific, ethical, and pedagogical principles. This paper describes an unethical research example in the business setting and identifies the available ethical considerations in research and how to avoid them.
Example of Unethical Research
The case of Volkswagen (VW) is an example of unethical research in the business setting. VW has had a great pursuit in increasing its net sales for the diesel cars, which has been boosted by the massive marketing campaign on the low emissions (Hotten, 2015). In the initial research, VW stated that the tests for the carbon dioxide emission levels had irregularities that could have affected 800,000 cars in Europe. However, VW later reported that after investigation, they found that the irregularities involved only 36,000 cars of the cars they produced yearly. Therefore, this research legitimacy is questionable. For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that the cars had a defeat device in the diesel engines that allowed them to sense when they were being evaluated and adjust the performance for better results (Hotten, 2015. The results, therefore, presented from this research were inaccurate and could be misguiding
Why the Research may be Considered Unethical
The main reason this research may be considered unethical is the presentation of contradicting results in two phases. For instance, the initial results from November depicted that the carbon dioxide emissions could affect 800,000 cars. However, after investigation, it was found that the emissions only affected only 36,000 cars being produced. VW also faked the results by using a defeat device, a software that allowed the diesel engine to sense when tests were being made and make adjustments to improve these results, which is unethical.
Ethical Considerations in Research and how to Avoid them
Research is a critical activity guided by a set of principles referred to as ethical considerations. Ethical considerations help protect the rights of research participants, maintain scientific integrity, and enhance the research’s validity. Several ethical issues should be considered when conducting research. These include confidentiality, informed consent, voluntary participation, anonymity, potential harm, and result communication (Recker, 2021). This allows the researchers to interpret, evaluate, and make ethical decisions efficiently.
Confidentiality requires the researcher to recognize sensitive research information and keep it secure, ensuring that a third party cannot assess it. Informed consent entails informing the research participant on the objective, benefits, and risks associated with the research. This should be done before the study so that potential participants can decide whether to participate in the study or not (Recker, 2021). Voluntary participation entails informing the research participants to choose on the involvement without any pressure or coercion. The participants are also free to withdraw or leave the study at any time without any obligation to continue.
Anonymity requires the researcher to protect personally identifiable information. Where possible, the researcher should avoid collecting personal identifiable information such as email addresses, names, or physical characteristics. If these details must be present, then pseudonymous identifiers should be used (Recker, 2021). Potential harm is disclosing any social, physical, or psychological risks associated with the research. Result communication requires the researchers to ensure that the information provided is free from misconduct or biases.
Research is an essential component of human life. Recognizing and adhering to research ethics increases the legitimacy of results. Ethics provides a framework to promote social good by preventing or mitigating all forms of harm. It protects personally identifiable information from leaking to third parties by respecting human dignity, autonomy, and privacy while maximizing profit. Research ethics is thus seen as the basis for maintaining and improving professional expertise and competence by doing what is right.