Ethics analysis in research project or dissertation

Ethical researchers act in honest ways. Ethics are conduct norms or standards that distinguish between right and wrong and acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Ethical considerations matter because they guard against the fabrication or falsification of data. They promote the pursuit of knowledge and truth, research’s primary goal. Ethical behavior is also crucial for collaborative work because it encourages an environment of trust, accountability, and mutual respect among team members. Likewise, researchers must adhere to ethical standards for the public to support and believe in the research. Although most
quality improvement and evidence-based practice projects pose minimal risk to human subjects, an IRB screening process for your capstone project is required to ensure the project is meeting the appropriate ethical standards.
The Nuremberg Code (1947) protects human rights and is the leading code for conducting ethical research. It focuses on:
Voluntary informed consent.
Freedom to withdraw from research.
Protection from physical and mental harm.
Protection from suffering and death.
It also emphasizes the risk-benefit balance of conducting research. The Declaration of Helsinki (1964) underscored the importance of protecting subjects in research and strongly proclaimed that individuals’ well-being takes precedence over scientific and social interests.
Good research is well planned, appropriately designed, and ethically approved. Developing and following a research protocol helps to ensure this. Research needs to seek to answer specific questions rather than just collect data. Researchers must obtain approval from the Institutional Review Board or Ethics Committee. Researchers also need to pay special attention to vulnerable subjects to avoid breach of ethical codes. Although most quality improvement and evidence-based practice projects pose minimal risk to human subjects, an IRB screening process for your capstone project is required to ensure the project is meeting the appropriate ethical standards.
The major ethical issues in conducting research usually involve:
Informed consent.
Beneficence—do no harm.
Respect for anonymity and confidentiality.
Respect for privacy.
You are responsible to ensure your project is conducted ethically and responsibly from planning to publication. Be familiar with ethical principles and follow them strictly. Discuss openly with the project team any potential ethical issues. If in doubt, consult the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for expert opinion and direction.
In this assessment, you will apply what you have learned from the CITI training and from your independent research on ethics to your doctoral project. In a 6- to 8-page paper plus a template, you will identify ethical considerations that may arise as part of your doctoral project. You will also identify strategies to address these ethical considerations.
World Medical Association General Assembly (2004). World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki: Ethical principles for medical research involving
human subjects. International Journal of Bioethics, 15(1), 124-9.
Demonstration of Proficiency
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the course competencies through the following assessment scoring
guide criteria:
Competency 2: Apply strategies to maintain a climate of mutual respect and shared values.
Apply historical ethical principles to analyze potential ethical concerns related to your doctoral project.
Determine vulnerability or possible concerns for identified project participants.
Create strategies to address potential ethical risks related to the doctoral project.
Describe the IRB processes to be completed prior to starting the data collection process.
Describe possible future changes to your doctoral project that would require IRB approval and the process to follow to obtain this approval.
Competency 4: Address assessment purpose in a well-organized text, incorporating appropriate evidence and tone in grammatically sound sentences.
Create a clear, well-organized, succinct, professional ethics analysis paper that uses an appropriate tone and is generally free from errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Integrate relevant sources to support arguments, correctly formatting citations and references using APA style.
To successfully prepare for this assessment, you will need to conduct independent research on ethics related to research studies. You will be asked to supply a minimum of five references in your ethics analysis paper over and above those provided under suggested resources.
Rather than researching the importance of ethical practice (which of course is very important), focus your research efforts on other research studies that have been conducted that are similar to your proposed research. For example:
Can you locate other studies that took place in a setting similar to yours?
What other studies exist that used participants similar to yours?
What studies can you find that address a problem similar to yours?
Do other studies exist that used research tools similar to yours, such as surveys, questionnaires, health behavior models, performance improvement plans, et cetera?
Examine current resources available through peer-reviewed articles and professional and government websites. These guides can help you identify scholarly and authoritative sources:
Nursing Doctoral (DNP) Research Guide.
Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing & Health Sciences.
For program specific guidance refer to:
DNP Doctoral Project Manual [PDF].
Programs of Research: School of Nursing and Health Sciences (NHS) [PDF].
Note: The assessments in this course must be completed in the order presented; subsequent assessments should be built on both your earlier work and your instructor’s feedback on earlier assessments. If you choose to submit assessments prematurely, without considering and integrating your instructor’s feedback, your assessment may be returned ungraded, resulting in your loss of an assessment attempt.
As you begin work on your Ethics Analysis paper, you may find it useful to seek out free writing workshops available through the  Writing Center.
These workshops address such writing topics as: correct APA usage, paper organization, synthesis of material, and so on.
Note: Remember that this keystone course will help determine whether you are ready to proceed with your doctoral project. You will want to do everything you can to ensure that your critical thinking, research, and writing skills are at the doctoral level.
The goal in this assessment is to ensure that you have adequately identified potential ethical concerns related to your doctoral project that could impede your project’s completion, quality, and effectiveness. For any identified ethical concerns, you will need to develop strategies to appropriately address these issues. As you write your paper, please consider what you learned from CITI and from your independent research into research ethics.
For this assessment, you will write a 6- to 8-page ethics analysis paper. Include the following headings in your paper and be sure to address the bullets underneath each heading:
In brief, what is your project about?
Who are the major stakeholders involved?
History of Research Ethics
What are the major principles in the history of research ethics?
How do autonomy, beneficence, malfeasance, and distributive justice specifically apply to your project?
Human Subjects/Participants
What human subjects/participants, if any, will be part of your project?
What are the exclusion and inclusion criteria for any people who are part of your study?
Potential Ethical Risks and Action Plans
Note: Use the Potential Ethical Risks and Action Plans Template [DOCX] to complete this portion of your paper. Submit this as a separate attachment to the assessment area.
In brief, as you completed the Potential Risks and Action Plans Template, what are the three to five major findings you discovered about potential risks and corresponding action plans or strategies related to your doctoral project?
Institutional Review Board (IRB) Processes
What are your project’s IRB approval needs?
Does your practicum site have an IRB?
What possible approval is needed at your practicum site?
What timeline will you need to follow for all IRB approvals?
What steps will you take if aspects of your study change?
What new approvals may be required to continue your project?
What are the key takeaways for you from the ethics analysis of your project?
Additional Requirements
Written communication: Ensure written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
Submission length: 6-8 double-spaced pages, in addition to a title page, reference page, and completed template.
Template: Be sure to use the Potential Ethical Risks and Action Plans Template for that section of your paper.
Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12-point.
Citations and references: Cite a minimum of five current scholarly and/or authoritative sources to support your ideas. These are over and above the suggested resources for this assessment. Current means no more than five years old.
APA formatting: Follow APA formatting and style guidelines for citations and references.
For an APA refresher, consult Evidence and APA.
Note: You may find the information from this assessment useful as you complete Part 3 of your Project Charter, Ethical Considerations.

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