Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Griffith University & Deakin University's online course, Why Ethics Matter: Ethical Research. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds Thanks for a great week everyone and congratulations on finishing the first half of the course. This week we considered a number of ethical dilemmas and took a trip down memory lane to reflect on some of the more infamous ethical breaches in history. Yes, moral diversity was certainly a key theme for this week. I think you’ll agree that while our individuality makes humanity interesting, ethical codes are an invaluable tool for guiding decision making and protecting participants during the research process. We hope you’re enjoying the course so far and have begun to build on your knowledge of ethical principles. Our goal is to ensure you can confidently apply theory to practise in your own research, whether that’s now or in the future.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 seconds Next week we explore considerations for working with vulnerable populations as well as animals. We’ll also examine the repercussions of unethical conduct. We’ll conclude the course with practical guidance for completing a research ethics application. See you in week two.

The week in review

Congratulations on making it this far into the course. Let’s reflect on what we have covered.

This week we explored key ethical principles. A deep understanding of these will help guide your thinking and support you in decision making when ethical dilemmas arise.

Although the Research Ethics Committee is there to guide you, they are just one link in the chain. Ethical dilemmas have the potential to present themselves at every step of your research journey. By now you will have begun to realise how easy it is for ‘good’ people to tip over into unethical territory. For this reason, you must remain personally vigilant and reflective throughout the process.

When it comes to ethical dilemmas, follow your institution’s guidelines. Churchill, Brown & Suter (2010) also offer the following tips as a rule of thumb:

Use your common sense

If a proposed action violates your ‘common sense’ don’t do it.

Is this the action of your best self?

If the proposed course of action is not consistent with your perception of your ‘best self’, don’t do it.

Would you make it public?

If you would not be comfortable with the world knowing what you did, don’t do it.

This week, we considered the inherent power imbalance between the researcher and participant. Looking back at some of the historical case studies, you’d have to agree it is a potentially significant imbalance - one worthy of your ongoing respect and consideration. Ethical conduct requires you to not just pass a Research Ethics Committee review, but to take personal responsibility for each of your actions and consider their impact on others.

Your task

Thinking back over the week, what has been the most interesting, enjoyable or significant moment in your learning? Please select the comments link and post your thoughts on our week so far.


Churchill, G.A., Brown, T.J. & Suter, T.A. (2010). Basic marketing research. South-Western Cengage Learning.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Why Ethics Matter: Ethical Research

Griffith University