observed, for example if participants wish to be accompanied in data collection activities such as interviews. Especially sensitive ethical issues arise when researching particular communities which are marginalised because of their age, culture, race, gender, sexuality, socio-economic standing or religion. Ethical issues also arise when researching in sensitive situations influenced by contexts of cultural difference and which impact on educational experiences. Where the overseas research involves children or vulnerable adults, the researchers must comply with the child protection clearance procedures of the UK. Where the researchers (e.g. for data collection) are recruited in the overseas context itself, in which UK-style protection clearance is not available, a letter or other formal endorsement of the good character of each researcher should be obtained from a person in authority in the jurisdiction concerned (e.g. school principal).
Openness and Disclosure
14 Te securing of participants’ voluntary informed consent, before research gets underway, is considered the norm for the conduct of research. Researchers must therefore avoid deception or subterfuge unless their research design specifically requires it to ensure that the appropriate data is collected or that the welfare of the researchers is not put in jeopardy. Decisions to use non-disclosure or subterfuge in research must be the subject of full deliberation and subsequent disclosure in reporting. Te Association recommends that approval for any course of action involving deception should be obtained from a local or institutional ethics committee. In any event, if it possible to do so, researchers must seek consent on a post- hoc basis in cases where it was not desirable to seek it before undertaking the research.
Right to Withdraw
15 Researchers must recognize the right of any participant to withdraw from the research for any or no reason, and at any time, and they must inform them of this right. In all such circumstances researchers must examine their own actions to assess whether they have contributed to the decision to withdraw and whether a change of approach might persuade the participants to re-engage. In most cases the appropriate course of action will be for the researchers to accept the participants’ decision to withdraw. Decisions to persuade them to re-engage must be taken with care. Researchers must not use coercion or duress of any form to persuade participants to re-engage with the work. In cases where participants are required by a contractual obligation to participate e.g. when mandated as part of their employment to facilitate an evaluation study, researchers may, however, have proper recourse to a third party (e.g. the employing authority) to request compliance with a contract.
Children, Vulnerable Young People and Vulnerable Adults
16 Te Association requires researchers to comply with Articles 3 and 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 3 requires that in all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child must be the primary consideration. Article 12 requires that children who are capable of forming their own views should be granted the right to express their views freely in all matters affecting them, commensurate with their age and maturity. Children should therefore be facilitated to give fully informed consent.
17 Te Association considers that the spirit of Articles 3 and 12 above should also apply in research contexts involving young people and vulnerable adults.
18 In the case of participants whose age, intellectual capability or other vulnerable circumstance may limit the extent to which they can be expected to understand or agree voluntarily to undertake their role, researchers must fully explore alternative ways in which they can be enabled to make authentic responses. In such circumstances,
6 Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research
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