Ethical Issues In Action Research

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Even though action research is gaining popularity in the research arena, it has been challenged if it is “a legitimate form of inquiry” (Stringer, 2014, p. 41). There are a variety of reasons why this is so. Cohen and Manion (1985) point out the main drawback in action research that it lack what is commonly understood to be scientific rigor, related to the validity, reliability and replicability of research. Nunan (2006) and Burns (1999) both identify that researcher faces problems when conducting action research: the teacher/researcher may find it difficult to critically reflect on their own teaching practice at the same time, and may lacks expertise in carrying out such a project. There can be also difficulties in identifying participants,…show more content…
The dual role of teacher and researcher brings possible conflicts of interest. In this kind of research, it is therefore very important to ensure that it is conducted to high ethical standards. Miller and Brewer (2003, p. 95) define ethics in such social research as being about “creating a mutually respectful, win-win relationship in which participants are pleased to respond candidly, valid results are obtained, and the community considers the conclusions constructive”. Glesne and Peshkin (1992, p. 109) further emphasise the importance of embedding ethical practices in…show more content…
One of the main ethical concerns to be addressed when conducting research is that participants have to be clearly informed about “the purpose, aims, use of results, and likely consequences of the study” (Stringer, 2013 p. 89); in other words, it is vital to obtain the informed consent of participants. In AR, where more control is given to the participants than in other forms of research, consent is a form of agreement between the participants and the researcher (ibid, p. 90). The researcher needs to inform the participants explicitly about all the research activities and participants should be to continue to ask questions during and after the AR project has been completed. Participants should feel entirely free to decline participation in the project, and it is the researcher's duty to explain that their willingness or refusal to participate will not affect their academic achievement in any way. The same conditions should be in place for continuing involvement, where participants should be aware that they are free to withdraw from the study at any given time. When the action researcher is also the teacher, student participants may be reluctant and uncomfortable with the fact that the researcher is also the teacher who grades them. Students may feel forced to participate because they feel if they were to refuse, it would affect their grade. Conflict of interest is therefore
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