Ethics apply in all aspects of life, not only in research, and are the principles that identify and provide reasons for good, desirable or acceptable conduct. Ethical considerations and scientific considerations are equally important in research and therefore ethical inadequacies are as significant as scientific inadequacies. Research ethics aim to facilitate research that will benefit humankind.

It is mandatory for research involving humans to be conducted according to ethical principles in order to ensure the protection of research participants. These basic ethical principles include the integrity of researchers and their respect for humans. Also, there is the obligation to maximise possible benefits (beneficence) and to minimise possible harms (non-maleficence) while maintaining the justice of the process. Harms may include physical harm, psychological distress or discomfort and economic or social disadvantage. Researchers must be sensitive to the rights and interests of participants and the social and cultural implications of their work.

Research proposals involving humans must therefore be reviewed and approved by a properly constituted ethics committee before any participant recruitment and/or data collection is undertaken.

 

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