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Ethics and values

Ethics - a set of moral principles

Useful summary of key points

Objectives of Research Ethics:

  • The first and comprehensive objective – to guard/protect human participants, their dignity, rights and welfare .
  • The second objective – to make sure that research is directed in a manner that assists welfares of persons, groups and/or civilization as a whole.
  • The third objective – to inspect particular research events and schemes for their ethical reliability, considering issues such as the controlling risk, protection of privacy and the progression of informed consent.


The primary responsibility of the Mount Saint Vincent University Research Ethics Board (UREB) is to ensure the safety and well-being of human participants. The UREB assesses all MSVU research studies that involve human participants or their data for potential risks and benefits to the participants and the community.


Professional Bodies


OFSTED (2019) How we carry out ethical research with people. Access from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ofsteds-ethical-research-policy/how-we-carry-out-ethical-research-with-people

British Educational Research Association Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research (2018); Fourth Editional. Access from https://www.bera.ac.uk/publication/ethical-guidelines-for-educational-research-2018-online

UK Integrity Office UKIO - "Our policy and guidelines for good research conduct"   Code of Practice for Research


North-West University South Africa - Research Ethics Code of Ethics -

  • To uphold human dignity, to develop the full potential of myself and others, and to practise and promote accuracy, honesty, trustworthiness and loyalty towards the University and all people

Newman University (2020) Research Ethics and Governance. Access from https://www.newman.ac.uk/knowledge-base/research-ethics-governance/

University of Warwick. (2014). The role of the practitioner-researcher: ethical considerations. Access from https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/ier/ngrf/effectiveguidance/research/ethics/

Provides an introduction to the ethical dilemmas facing guidance researchers as well as an overview of why a discussion on ethics is important to researchers, practitioners and those who combine the two roles in their work. It examines what ethical standards translate to in practice by summarising relevant documents and research.


Wood, L, & Kahts-Kramer, S. (2022). ‘But how will you ensure the objectivity of the researcher?’ Guidelines to address possible misconceptions about the ethical imperatives of community-based research. Research Ethics 1–17

Practical/applied ethics Encyclopedia Britannia

Foucault, M. - Truth and Power

Suderman-Gladwell, G. (2001).  The Ethics of Personal, Narrative, Subjective Research. Master's Dissertation, Brock University, Canada.

This engages with some difficulties experienced with a University’s ethics committee.

Farrimond, H. (2012). Doing Ethical Research. Red Globe Press.

Iphofen, R. (2011). Ethical Decision Making in Social Research: A practical guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Oliver, P. (2010). The Student’s Guide to Research Ethics. (2nd edn). Maidenhead: Open University Press

Stutchbury, K. & Fox, Alison. (2009). Ethics in educational research: Introducing a methodological tool for effective ethical analysis. Cambridge Journal of Education, 39(4), 489-504.



Schwartz, S. (2006). Basic Human Values: Theory, Measurement, and Applications. Revue française de sociologie, 42, 249-288.

Crompton, T. (2010). Common Cause: The Case for Working with our Cultural Values. Access from http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/common_cause_report.pdf


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