Good Research Practices

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Seminar on Research Ethics by Lisa Webley (28 Feb 2017)

  Please see the two PowerPoint slides below on the sessions on research ethics by Professor Lisa Webley. Harnessing the Research Ethics Process to Develop Rigorous, Original Research in Law Postgraduate Research Studies in Law: Thinking Differently About Literature and Research Method in Law

Dialogue on Research Integrity by Zoë Hammatt

The following shows the printed materials in the lunchtime session Dialogue on Research Integrity by Ms Zoë Hammatt, a licensed attorney and a professional consultant on research integrity. This lunchtime session seeks to build upon training RPgs in responsible research conduct through engagement with Ms Zoë Hammatt, who visited HKU enroute to attend the Asian and Pacific Rim Research Integrity (APRI) Network Meeting 2017.  She held an informal session on research integrity that covered topics related to international collaborations and authorship, data management, and innovative ways to

Ethical issues around social media research

It is widely recognised that research involving human subjects should be given extra care. However the line seems muddled when it comes to research on social media posts. On the one hand, the posts are publicly available information. But on the other hand, individuals are behind these posts and social media research often requires deep qualitative investigation. Two scholars from the University of Colorado Boulder, Melissa Bica and Jennings Anderson, looked into the ethical issues around social media research with Twitter as an example. Despite

How to ensure safety in sensitive research?

Sensitive research refers to those the discussion of which tends to generate an emotional response, such as traumatic experience or death or sex. To ensure safety, both in the physical and psychological sense, for all participants, from interviewers to interviewees, it is crucial to be responsible. Physical safety issues may arise for example in studies of domestic violence or child abuse. An appropriate assessment of the source and nature of the threat should be carried out and a clear protocol should be developed around it. Issues

Should I be the “whistleblower”?

In real life it is not easy for research misconduct to come to light. This is because details of how research is conducted are often known only to the people who work on it. And when research misconduct is perceived, not everyone is willing to speak out. Section 2.8 of HKU Policy on Research Integrity says, “Members of the university should report to the authorities concerned any research misconduct or suspected misconduct.” It recognises everyone shares the responsibility to uphold research integrity within the institution,

Why is keeping original records so important?

Data recording and protection are discussed specially in the Office of Research Integrity’s Introduction to Responsible Conduct of Research. (s.6b & s. 6c) It details how hardcopy or electronic evidence should be recorded and stored respectively. These are also emphasised in the policy on research integrity of a number of educational institutions. For example, in the Guidelines for Responsible Conduct of Research, it is stated that “If mistakes are to be corrected, a thin line should be drawn through the erroneous entry so as not

You did the research, but do you own the data?

As a researcher, have you ever considered whether you have the ownership to the data you may have complied and based your research on? In the Office of Research Integrity’s Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research, the issue of data ownership is named as an unresolved and controversial issue in data management. (Section 6e.) The term ownership in this context entails both the possession of and responsibility for information. The possession implies the control over its access, creation, modification and etc., and the right

The importance of formal procedures to deal with allegations of research misconduct

Professor Richard Epstein (University of Chicago Law School) has written an article in which he emphasises the importance of "established and settled institutional arrangements" (rather than "sloppy and ad hoc procedures") to investigate allegations of research misconduct in each university. Epstein points out that there should be no appearance of bias by the person(s) responsible for the investigation. Referring to his own experience in shaping the procedures at the University of Chicago, he writes that: "in order to avoid any risk of bias, the appointment of the

How should researchers procure goods and services?

Prof. Mark Israel (Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services) has kindly given permission for this hypothetical case study to be reproduced. Simon has been awarded a grant by the UGC. The research will require him to purchase services from interpreters, travel agents, and employ research assistants. He suspects that he might get the best deal from his wife's translation agency, his brother's travel agency, and the daughter of a senior manager at the UGC, who topped the class in the relevant area, is looking for

Should you accept conference honoraria/travel funding from a sponsor?

Professor Peter Miller (School of Psychology, Deakin University) and others argue in an article that researchers should be aware that their objectivity might be compromised if they accept honoraria and travel funds from a sponsor that funds industry-favourable research. Also, they highlight the opportunities to fraternise with industry executives at such conferences. They give the example of the alcohol industry sponsoring academics to attend conferences, at which industry executives have the opportunity to meet researchers. Miller and others argue that, because the alcohol industry funds