Week 5 – Research Ethics

I have done an ethics protocol for a few of my research projects in my undergraduate years. My methodology for those projects was a bit similar to my approach with the research topic for this class. Therefore, my research will require review by the ethics board, and I will explain more in detail about why it is necessary. My approach essentially entails understanding the relationships and interactions between librarians and children through my conversations with them. I would also do my own observations of these interactions in practice. There are many ethical concerns I must consider, especially since I am dealing with a vulnerable group like children. Dean Sharpe mentions this with the risks involved and other concerns when dealing with children, which are different than dealing with adults, and one clear instance would be when asking participants for consent. Children can still be informed about the research and sign the consent form; however, the decision is ultimately up to their parents or guardians who must also sign the consent form. Even if parents’ consent is received, I would still like to consult with the child participants, and letting them know that their participation is voluntary. Although parents’ consent is necessary, the children’s consent is important as well as they are primarily affected by giving their time and knowledge to the research project. Even if parents and children provide consent, I must also consider that some children, especially young children, may not understand the concepts or information that is provided in the consent form and may agree to the research without even knowing what is involved or entailed of them.

In terms of ethical considerations, whether dealing with librarians or children, I would also have to consider how to protect my participants’ confidentiality and privacy. Through past experiences, I have used pseudonyms in my research papers and blocked out any identifying information that could be traced back to my participants. This is a difficult process because participants may not care or feel that this is necessary, especially with those who would like to be identified. This might also be difficult if I intend to do group interviews because participants in the group may identify each other, whether this is unintentional or not. These are a couple of concerns that I would have to consider, and contemplate on how to proceed with the research process. 

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