Friday, 11 November 2011

Research Ethics (by Mark Hall)

Research ethics is a topic that is like a midnight curry. You are very likely to see it again. The University and the individual departments have forms and procedures in place to ensure that at least there is a paper trail of what (un)ethical research was planned and then performed. What falls by the way-side are the gray areas where the research might be formally ethical, but where in the practical execution the ethicality becomes unclear. An example: financially rewarding participants for taking part in an experiment is a long-established technique and has actually been shown to produce more representative results. With the advent of work-sourcing sites such as Amazon Mechanical Turk, you can now place money in a pot with them, source large numbers of participants and the financial reward processing is handled by Amazon. So far, so good, the ethics committee will be happy. However, the average amount of money paid to participants is usually significantly below the minimum wage. Is that still ethical?

No comments:

Post a Comment