Ethicality: Preparing and Revising Ethics Documents

Preparing the ethical forms is a process that needs a careful attention so that we can demonstrate how we have considered the ethical elements of our research and how we will ensure our ethicality during our contacts with our participants and in all aspects of our research. It is also a quite lengthy process to follow. For me, it took about one week to complete my forms. It took quite long because besides copying and pasting what I wrote on my proposal, I had to make some adjustments and prepare new research instruments based on what the panel members suggested.

Before submitting the forms, we have to be sure that we have crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s, and make sure that we have submitted all the documents and paperwork requested in the form. Otherwise, we have to justify why the document may not be relevant in our case. For instance, on the ‘recruitment’ section of my EAA form, I opted ‘NA’ for the permission documents and below is my justification of opting NA for this.

If NA, please explain why permission is not applicable.

I am going to recruit my participants through an open forum and emails, and I will not do any intervention or research activities in the schools; therefore, I would not require any particular permission from the school head or any officials from the department of education. In addition, if the participants know that I have such permissions, they may feel that they are obliged to participate in my research. Therefore, to maintain the voluntariness of my participant recruitment, I will not apply for such permission. My participants will act as individuals who are willing to share their stories whose agreements are sought through the written consent that I will send them.

And my assessor wrote ‘No, but justified in relation to culture’ on my ethical approval form on the section about whether I have obtained permission for my study to take place from relevant authority/organisation management. It shows that we have options as long as we are able to justify our option.

Another thing about completing the forms is that we have to be patient and careful with the tables in the forms. This was the tricky bit I think, because a minor change in one part may affect the layout of the bigger parts of the document. Hopefully, this problem will be resolved soon, so that it will be easier to manage 🙂

My ethical approval has been signed off, but there are still some minor amendments that I need to make. These are:

–          on the info sheet it should say Manchester Institute of Education rather than School of Education

–          the consent form has a duplicated line which needs deleting

Completing the ethical forms also helps refresh my understanding of my research and helps me self-assess the risks that my research might bear. I am now more aware of my responsibility of being ethical along the course of my research so as to ensure the safety and well-being of all involved in my research, including myself. And ethical approval application process, to a certain extent, has helped reach this level of awareness.

Now that I have received my ethical approval, I am now legitimate to start generating my data. I do hope that it will be an exciting process that will result in exciting data that may lead to exciting findings. Fingers crossed 🙂