Negotiating Access and Research Ethics
- Shaban IBISH
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From a mainly access and ethics are critical aspects for the conduct of research.
Insufficient attention may therefore be paid to gaining access and even less to the likelihood of ethical concerns arising in relation to the conduct of the research project.
In this context, such considerations are important whether you are using secondary data, or you are collecting primary data using Internet-mediated or other methods. Over the past decade, concerns about the ethics of research practice have grown dramatically.
There are many ethical issues to be taken into serious consideration for research.Research ethicsinvolves the application of fundamentalethicalprinciples to a variety of topics involvingresearch, including negotiating access.
First of all to clearly understand the idea of negotiation ethics, we must first define what it means to be ethical. To be ethical, or to haveethics, simply means being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially concerning the standards of a profession.With this in mind, negotiation ethics is the application of ethical behavior during pertinent negotiation positions.
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Many students want to start their research as soon as they have identified a topic area, forgetting that access and ethics are critical aspects for the success of any research project. Like the sub-contractors used by Procter and Gamble, you will need to think about how you are going to gain access to the data you need, and how you are going to explain to those from whom you are obtaining data why you need that data. Such considerations are important whether you are using secondary data, or you are collecting primary data using Internet-mediated or other methods. Over the past decade, concerns about the ethics of research practice have grown dramatically. Consequently, you need to think carefully about how you will gain access to undertake your research and about possible ethical concerns that could arise in relation to the conduct of your entire research project.
These are aspects that require careful attention at the outset of any research project.
Without paying careful attention to how you are going to gain access to the data you require and acting ethically, what seem like good ideas for research may flounder and prove impractical or problematic once you attempt to undertake them.
- Your ability to collect data will depend on gaining access to their source or to appropriate sources where there is a choice. The appropriateness of a source will of course depend on your research question, related to objectives and strategy.
- The first level of access is physical access or entry.
- Gaining physical access can be difficult for number of reasons
- Organizations or individuals may not be prepared to engage in additional, voluntary activities because of the time and resources required.
- The request for access and cooperation may fail to interest the person who receives it.
- The organization may find itself in a difficult situation owing to external events totally unrelated to any perceptions about the nature of the request or the person making, so that they have no choice but to refuse access.
- Physical access to an organization will be formally granted through its management.
- Access may also refer to your ability to select a representative sample of organizational participants in order to attempt to answer your research question and meet your objectives in an unbiased way and to produce reliable and valid data.
- Cognitive access will lead you to gain access to the data that you need your intended participants to share with you in order to understand their social reality and to be able to address your research question and objectives.
- Access is likely to be a problem area, in terms of gaining permission for physical access, maintaining that access, and being able to create sufficient scope to address fully the research question and objectives that guide your work.
- The extent to which feasibility will affect the nature of your research, or at least the approach that you adopt.
- A request to undertake research may involve you seeking access to a range of participants based on an organizational sample.
The need to identify a feasible research question and objectives, from the perspective of gaining access. Personal entry to an organization will be less applicable where you send a self-administered, postal questionnaire to organizational participants, in situations where you do not need to gain physical access in order to identify participants.
- Allowing yourself sufficient time
- Using existing contacts and developing new ones
- Providing a clear account of purpose and type of access required
- Overcoming organizational concerns about the granting of access
- Identifying possible benefits to the organization in granting you access
- Using suitable language
- Facilitating ease of reply when requesting access
- Developing your access on an incremental basis
- Establishing your credibility with intended participants.
Potential ethical issues should be recognized and considered from the outset of you research and be one of the criteria against which your research proposal is judged.
Ethical concerns are likely to occur at all stages of your research project: when seeking access, during data collection, as you analyze data and when you report them.
Qualitative research is likely to lead to a grater range of ethical concerns in comparison with quantitative research, although all research methods have specific ethical issues associated with them.
Ethical concerns are also associated with the power relationship between the research and those
who grant access, and the researcher’s role (as external researcher, internal researcher).
The use of the Internet and email to collect data may also generate ethical concerns.
- Physical access may take weeks or even months to arrange, and in many cases the time invested will not result in access being granted.
- If you are able to contact a participant directly, such as manager, and exchange of correspondence may be sufficient to gain access.
- In the situation where your intended participants are not the same people who grant you physical access, you will need to allow further time to gain their acceptance.
- Once you have gained physical access to the organization and to your participants, you will be concerned with gaining cognitive access.
- The use of known contacts will depend largely on your choice of research strategyand approach to selecting a sample, as suggested by your research question and objectives.
- You will need to be able to identify the most appropriate person to contact for help, either directly or indirectly.
- You may consider making a direct approach to an organization in an attempt to identify the appropriate person to contact in relation to a particular research project.
- Providing a clear account of your requirements will allow your intended participants to be aware of what will be required from them.
- Establishing your credibility will be vital in order to gain access.
- Concerns about the amount of time or resources that will be involved in the request for access.
- Sensitivity about the topic.
- The confidentiality of the data that would have to be provided and the anonymity of the organization or individual participants.
- A discussion may allow them to think through an issue and to reflect on the action that they have adopted to manage it.
- The intention would be to provide each of your participants with something of value and to fulfill any expectations about exchange between the provider and receiver of the research data, thereby prompting some of those whom you approach to grant access.
- Where access is granted in return for supplying a report of your findings it may be important to devise a simple contract to make clear what has been agreed.
- Some researchers advise against referring to certain terms used in relation to research activity when making an approach to an organization for access, because these may be perceived as threatening or not interesting to the potential participant.
- Use of language will depend largely on the nature of the people you are contacting.
- The inclusion of a simple pro forma for recipients of you written requests for access to use generally ensures a reply.
- It may not be suitable in all cases, and should be designed to fit the research method being used.
Reference has been made above to the strategy of achieving access by stages:
The first stage involved a request to conduct interviews.
The next stage involved negotiating access to undertake observation.
The final stage was in effect an extension to the second stage and involved gaining permission to tape-recorded the interactions being observed.
- There are potentially a number of advantages related to the use of this strategy.
- Using an incremental strategy at least gains you access to a certain level of data.
- As you establish your credibility, you can develop the possibility of achieving a fuller level of data.
- A further advantage may follow from the opportunity that you have to design your request for further access specifically to the situation and in relation to opportunities that may become apparent from your initiallevel of access.
- But the incremental process will be time consuming, and you need to consider the amount of time that you will have for your research project before embarking on such a strategy.
- Just because you have been granted entry into an organization, you will not be able to assume that those whom you wish to interview, survey or observe will be prepared to provide their cooperation .
Feasibility has been recognized to be organizations and to intended participants within them have been described and discussed.
Research ethics refer to the appropriateness of your behavior in relation to the rights of those who become the subject of your work or are affected by the work .
- The conduct of your research may be guided by a code of ethics. A code of ethics will provide you with a statement of principles and procedures for the conduct of your research.
- You may also be required to submit your research proposal to a faculty or institutional research ethics committee.
- Researchers need to be sensitive to the way in which the granting of access affects this type of relationship.
- In addition, as a research in an organizational setting you will need to remain sensitive to the fact that your presence is a temporary one, whereas the people from whom you collect data will need to work together after you depart.
- Privacy of possible and actual participants
- Voluntary nature of participation and the right to withdraw partially or completely from the process
- Consent and possible deception of participants
- Maintenance of the confidentiality of data provided by individuals or identifiable participants and their anonymity
- Reactions of participants to the way in which you seek to collect data
- Effects on participants of the way in which you use, analyze and report your data
- Behavior and objectivity of the researcher.
The maintenance of you objectivity will be vital during the analysis stage to make sure that you do not misrepresent the data collected.
The ethical issues of confidentiality and anonymity also come to the fore during the reporting stage of your research.
Embarrassment and even harm could result from reporting data that are clearly attributable to a particular individual.
This discussion about the impact of research on the collective interests of those who participate brings us back to the reference made above to the particular ethical issues that arise in relation to the analysis of secondary data derived from survey research.
Where you are aware that your findings may be used to make a decision that could adversely affect the collective interests of those who were your participants, it may be ethical to refer to this possibility even though it reduces the level of access that you achieve. .
- What is the purpose?
- Who will undertake it?
- Whether it is sponsored
- Sampling of participants;
- The progress of the research;
- The information required from the participants;
- How the date The information required from the participants;
- How the date will be collected;
- How much time how many occasions;
- The target dates;
- recognition that participation is voluntary;
Dissemination of the results;
- How will anonymity and privacy will be observed at this stage?
- What will happen to data after the project is completed?
- What safeguards will be built in to preserve the anonymity in the future? .
- Privacy of possible and actual participants,
- Voluntary nature of participation and the right to withdraw partially or completely from the process, Confidentiality of data provided y individuals and their anonymity,
- Reaction of participants to the way in which you seek to collect data,
- Effect on participants of the way in which you use, analyze and report your data,
- Behavior and objectivity of the researcher,
- Privacy is significant, Power relationship in business and management research,
- Harassment of any kind, Netiquette,Consider the applicability if Internet as a means to collect data.
Take care of the Law for private data,
Take care how you obtain and use secondary data,
If somebody agrees to participate in the research it does not mean that he agrees, about the way you discuss the data received.
Right to privacy,
Confidentiality and anonymity,
No chat rooms with the results,
Careful with the observations – be objective and not subjective,
Process personal data fairly and lawfully,
Accurate and keep up-to-date,
Do not transfer outside the country .
The process of research can be painstakingly time consuming. It can involve the overcoming of many obstacles and may unfortunately need to be revised several times as you progress through the steps. In this concept research methods in negotiating and ethics is so important.
Many students want to start their research as soon as they have identified a topic area, forgetting that access and ethics are critical aspects for the success of any research project. Like the sub-contractors used by Procter and Gamble, you will need to think about how you are going to gain access to the data you need, and how you are going to explain to those from whom you are obtaining data why you need that data.
4 main components of negotiating access and research ethics are : Problems associated with access, Strategies to gain access, Define research ethics, Natural and scope of Ethics.
Finally, research ethics refer to the appropriateness of your behavior in relation to the rights of those who become the subject of your work or are affected by the work.
 Tang Weijun Shanghai Jiao Tong University (2008).
 Saunders, M. N. K., Thornhill, A., & Lewis, P. (2009). Research methods for business students, 5/E. Prentice Hall.
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