Primary concerns that exist in ethics, validity, and reliability revolve around the researcher and their research findings. Research needs to be valid. Golafshani (2003) wrote, “Validity determines whether the research truly measures that which it was intended to measure or how truthful the research results are.” This is a concern because if research measured something completely different or unrelated to the research question then the findings would be invalid and the research would not be reliable. Reliability is can also referred to as dependability. “In order to address the dependability issue more directly, the processes within the study should be reported in detail, thereby enabling a future researcher to repeat the work, if not necessarily to gain the same results. Thus, the research design may be viewed as a “prototype model”. Such in-depth coverage also allows the reader to assess the extent to which proper research practices have been followed” (Shenton, 2004). This is a concern if the research cannot be duplicated with similar results. It is very important that all aspects of the research are disclosed or a future researcher will not be able to successfully repeat the research, making it unreliable.
I have always worked around confidential information. Before I became a teacher, I worked for many years for accounting firms. Confidentiality has always been a part of my professional life. But, ethical behavior encompasses more than just confidentiality. “Ethical behavior is defined as ‘a set of moral principles, rules, or standards governing a person or profession.’ Major principles of ethical conduct include that the researcher should do no harm, that privacy and anonymity of participants must be protected, that confidentiality of information must be maintained, that informed consent of participants needs to be obtained, that inappropriate behavior must be avoided, and that data must be interpreted honestly without distortion” (Lichtman, 2012).
This gives me a lot to think about and consider with my own study. I know that I need to report my findings in detail. I will lay it all out and use full disclosure, including my own biases. I believe that if I do that correctly, my research can be duplicated successfully. Ethically, I am taking care to protect the identity of my students. I have permission from parents to videotape and voice record my students for my research. I will randomly assign letters and numbers to my students and use those letters and numbers in my research. Any papers with their names on it will be blacked out and recoded with his or her given letter and number. I will be mindful that “although policies, guidelines, and codes of ethics have been developed by the federal government, institutions, and professional associations, actual ethical practice comes down to the individual researcher’s own values and ethics” (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016).
Golafshani, N. (2003, December). Understanding Reliability and Validity in Qualitative Research. Retrieved November 5, 2015, from Nova Southeastern University: http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR8-4/golafshani.pdf
Lichtman, M. (2012, January 19). Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research. Retrieved October 30, 2015, from Sage Publications: http://uk.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/27011_4.pdf
Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2016). Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Shenton, A. K. (2004, January 6). Strategies for ensuring trustworthiness in qualitative research projects. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from Centre for Research in Early Childhood: http://www.crec.co.uk/docs/Trustworthypaper.pdf