1 Te 2004 revision of the Association’s Ethical Guidelines (for Educational Research) built on the 1992 statement to recognize the academic tensions that a multi-disciplinary community generates when dealing with the complex research issues that characterize education contexts and to include the field of action research. Tis 2011 version refines and strengthens the Association’s position on the rights of researchers in commissioned research contexts. A small number of updating revisions have also been made.
2 It is intended that deliberation on these guidelines, and compliance where appropriate, will be a binding responsibility on all members of the Association in their research activities. Although they can only be advisory for others engaged in carrying out, sponsoring or using educational research, it is the hope of the Association that they will attract widespread consultation and adherence. In the particular case of groups of educational researchers (e.g. in university departments or private agencies), the Association recommends the setting up of local ethics committees that endorse and employ these guidelines in support of their own work.
3 Te underpinning aim of the guidelines is to enable educational researchers to weigh up all aspects of the process of conducting educational research within any given context (from student research projects to large-scale funded projects) and to reach an ethically acceptable position in which their actions are considered justifiable and sound. For the vast majority of educational research activity this basic tenet may be non-problematic but dilemmas will arise for others and these guidelines will provide a basis for deliberation and perhaps resolution or compromise.
Aspirations of Educational Researchers
4 Educational researchers aim to extend knowledge and understanding in all areas of educational activity and from all perspectives including learners, educators, policymakers and the public. Te Association recognizes that the community of educational researchers is multi-disciplinary and that within the paradigms and methodologies espoused by the various disciplines, and often variously by their sub-disciplines, a variety of concepts may be problematic. Examples among these are the concepts of ‘data’, ‘reliability’, ‘validity’, ‘subjectivity’ and ‘objectivity’. Debates abound, for example, on the relativity or otherwise of ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ and such debates are symptomatic of a community undertaking critical analysis of its basic tenets and enjoying the enhancement of its intellectual capital through the creative tension it produces.
5 Te Association therefore recognizes the legitimacy of the diverse educational research philosophies, theories and methodologies that exist and seeks to ensure that its guidelines do not selectively judge or constrain, directly or indirectly, the methodological distinctions or the research processes that emanate from them. Tese guidelines, then, are offered as set of principles and advice that will be subject to continuing review as our knowledge, understanding and practice of educational research continues to evolve.
Principles Underpinning the Guidelines
6 Te Association considers that all educational research should be conducted within an ethic of respect for: • Te Person • Knowledge • Democratic Values • Te Quality of Educational Research • Academic Freedom
4 Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research
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