The research is an integral part of the human lives. The scholars and the scientists conduct research in different domain to create knowledge and use it to make the human lives easier. The human participation is an integral part of the research process. Over the years, several researches in the medical and sociological domain have involved the humans. However, these research have come under the scrutiny of the ethics committee as several times the research process creates a negative impact on the human lives or the research participants. Therefore, a social networking site (XYZ) is trying to conduct an experiment in its users to know whether they can attain the emotional state of its users. The digital scent technology is in its infancy which will be examined for the experiment. It is a technology through which scent-enabled digital media can be transmitted and received on the digital mediums. The company would like to know whether different types of smells updated on the social media can influence the mood of the users. However, the involvement of the human participants can raise several ethical questions regarding voluntary participation, privacy, integrity and the respect for the rights of the users. The management of the organization is also worried as Facebook, a social networking site also manipulated the content of its users to examine its role in the change of emotions of the users (Bui,2013). The change in emotions was examined by the individual posts of the users. Facebook tampered the news feed of several users b showing them abnormally low level of positive and the negative new feed. The researchers found that the negative posts or news feed brought more negative comments and similarly positive feedbacks and comments brought positive comments. However, the present research was heavily criticized on the basis of ethical grounds as the research participants were not aware of the research process. Therefore, it is important that XYZ organization designs and develops a research design which addresses the ethical issues in the research process. The present report will examine the various ethical issues and the research design issues in the proposed research. In addition to it, thee research will propose research approach which will be the most suitable for the research.
According to Stebbins (2001), the fundamental of an ethical research is that the rights and the welfare of the research participants is always protected. In the last century, large number of social and the medical researchers have done experiments on the sick and the poor, which has made is necessary for the government to systematically protect the rights of the individual participants in the research process. Several committees have been formed which assures that the research process abides by the ethical standards. It is important that the researcher respects the rights of the research participants. The research participants should be treated a person rather than just objects of study. When experiments are done on the human subjects, it raises no moral questions; however, as soon as the research participants become animate person, the innocence of the research is lost.
In the perception of Loue, (2007), there are several ethical challenges in the research design and informed consent in the behavioral setting, especially in the resource-poor setting. There are several social, cultural and ethical issues in the social or biomedical research. Strengthening the knowledge about the international ethics is essential in the development of ethics-based research study. Other than obtaining informed consent of the research participant, it is essential that the researcher respect the cultural traditions of the study populations and the communities. There should be independent committee for the ethical review of protocols so that the research remains ethics based. Ongoing feedback should be provided to the research participants regarding the progress of the research and their role in it. It assures that their role in the research process is critical.
In the views of Comstock (2013), the research which involves the participation of the human participants or the animals should abide by the ethical standards formed by the ethics committee. It is important to recognize the ethical principles and standards formed by the ethics committee and abide by them. There are some standards or principles which should be involved in the research involving human research participants. The researcher should also declare in the research study that all the principles are followed. Firstly, the researcher should respect the rights and the welfare of the research participants and the interest of the research participants should take supreme interest. The research should also be approved and reviewed by an independent ethics committee. The review must be conducted before the research begins and when the amendments are applied to the research. Another important aspect of the research is that the research protocol, research design and the statistical analysis must be clearly described and implemented. The informed consent is also important for the research process. All the participants must be informed regarding the various aspects of the research process and their consent should be taken ideally in the writing form. The research which involves the participation of the children or other vulnerable population who cannot consent to the research process should seek the consent of appropriate person who is responsible for the research process (Onwuegbuzie and Frels, 2016).
According to Long & Johnson, (2007), the research design is also important aspect of the research process. The research design represents several decisions that the researcher undertook regarding the research. It includes theoretical framework, methodology, data collection methods and the research approach. The selection of the research methods is a complex process as it requires the application of intuition, complex reasoning regarding which research approach will answer the research questions best.
Statement of Research Questions and Objectives
The aim of the present study is to identify the research approach and methods which will answer the research questions bet and abide by the international standards of business research ethics. XZZ management firm has proposed to examine the impact of perfume on the mood of social media users. In the similar project, conducted by Facebook in the past, the company suffered from heavy criticism. Several international bodies criticized the company on the grounds of research ethics and informed consent. It was also suggested that the company performed the experiment on the basis of poor research design. Therefore, it is important that XYZ Company develops a well-through research design which can address the research questions efficiently. In this regard, the research questions can be defined as follows:
- What are the ethical standards that a research study involving human participants must abide by?
- What are different types of research approaches and designs which can be used to address the research study?
- Which research design will answer the research questions in the most appropriate manner?
The research aims of the following research study can be defined as:
- To identify the issues related to research ethics in the research involving the research participants
- To identify the ethical standards of the research
- To develop an appropriate research design for the addressing the research questions
Recommended Research Methodology
The research methodology is the most important part of the research process. In the research methodology, the researcher studies regarding the various research methods and approaches and select the most appropriate research design for the research. The research methodology encompasses research philosophy, research paradigm and the research approach. In the present research section, the research method of content analysis and data mining will be undertaken. This method has evolved with the advent of internet and social media. In this method, the content and the information from the social media is obtained and analyzed. The content is synthesized through the postings on the social media, tweets, bookmarks, cookies, comments, tag and blogs or Wikipedia articles. There are several benefits of obtaining the raw data from the social media. The most important benefit of obtaining the data from the social media is that raw or natural data can be obtained regarding the human behavior. The researcher gets an easy access to massive amount of data at a very cost-effective manner. In this method, the parameters for the research stud can also be easily set. Other than that, there are also several other methods which can be used to collect the data. All these methods can be categorized into qualitative and quantitative research methods. The qualitative research methods include methods such as interview methods and focus group. In these methods, the information collected is qualitative in nature and which means that it could not be represented through statistical means (Creswell and Clark, 2011).
On the other hand, the information collected through quantitative methods is statistical in nature. The information collected through this method can be represented with the help of mathematical expressions. However, the aim of the present research study is to examine the impact of digitized perfumes on the mood or the temperament of the social media users.
It can be critiqued that in the present case, the method of content analysis will be the best. In the present times, it is the most common method for the sociological research. The present research will examine the emotions of the research participants; therefore, it is important that a research design is selected which examines is able to examine the actual emotions of the research participants. The quantitative methods such as survey will not be able to examine the response of the research participants.
The research participants will have time to think about their response which will reduce the efficacy of the research. It is due to the reason that when the research participants will have time to think over their emotion, they might not show their actual emotions to others. Similarly, interview method is also not considered as appropriate method for the research. In this method, the interviewer asks in-depth questions regarding the research topic to the research participants. The research participant has in-depth knowledge or is an expert in the subject. This method is commonly used to attain in-depth knowledge regarding the research subject. There are various forms of through which the interview can be conducted. It depends on the style of the questionnaire. There are three main types of questionnaire, namely, structured, semi-structured or unstructured. In the structured interview process management, the questions which are needed to be asked with the questionnaire are pre-designed by the researcher. On the other hand, in semi-structured questionnaire, the questions which will be asked to the research participants are not defined. However, the main gist or the direction of the interview is noted and the interviewer asks questions accordingly (Saunders, 2011). In the unstructured interview, the interview questions are not fixed and the interview goes in an open-ended direction.
The social media content analysis method can be categorized as a focus group method. The only difference is that the observations are made by scrutinizing the data on the social media. In the focus group method, the information about a social media is obtained by making an external intervention. The facilitator does not take an active participation role in the research process. The only role of the facilitator is to jot down the key points or information in a piece of paper. It can be critiqued that the best method for the research process is the focus group.
The sampling refers to the process of selecting a few individuals who can represent the characteristics of the entire population. There are several methods of sampling, such as stratified sampling, cluster sampling or random access sampling. The sampling methods are used as it is nearly impossible, very time consuming and difficult to conduct research on the entire population. Therefore, it a subsection of the population is selected which can represent the characteristic of the entire population. In the random sampling, the sampling population is selected on a random basis from the entire population. The stratified sampling is based on the probability characteristics. In this method, the entire population is divided into several subsections and participants are selected from each section on a random basis (Thyer, 2010). Similarly, in the cluster sampling, the researcher divides the overall population in several groups called clusters and the participants are selected from each group on a random basis. The random sampling is the fundamental or the basic sampling method in which the characteristics of the entire population is same. On the other hand, if the characteristics of the entire population is not same and the random sampling method is cannot justify the results, other form of sampling is used (Kasi, 2009). In the resent section, the characteristics of the population will not have a singular effect on the research study. Therefore, the research participants will be selected on a purely random basis. The emotional quotient of different people is different. The inclusion of large population will increase the effectiveness of the research. Therefore, the sampling population can be selected as 10,000 for the research.
As discussed in the above section, the research ethics have a critical role in the efficacy of the research. In the present, the research should abide by all the principles of ethics committee. The researcher should respect the right of the informed consent of all the research participants. In this regard, the research should design an online form wherein all the research participants have to agree to take part in the research. The online form will also contain a brief regarding the aim of the research study and the impact of the research on the research. The independent research ethics review committee will examine the impact of the research on the human participant. It will be examined whether the influence of the digitized perfume will be temporary or permanent on the research participants. The voluntary participation also means that the research participants will have the right to withdraw from the research whenever they choose to be. The researcher will also assure that the private and the confidential information of the research participants is protected and is not disclosed to any third party (Creswell, 2013).
In the present research, the data collection method of data mining from the social media will be used. In this method, the raw data from the social media sites of the research participants will be included. The data will be in the raw form. It will be collected through the postings, comments, tweets and hash-tags of the research participants. The data collected through the social media websites of the research participants will require heavy synthesis from the researcher (Kaar, 2009). The researcher needs to analyze which data will be useful for the research and select it from the abundance of data available on the social media websites.
Validity and Reliability of Research Methods
In order to develop the validity and the reliability of the research work, the researcher will abide by all the ethical standards. Firstly, the researcher will take informed consent of all the research participants for the research process. The research participants must be informed regarding their role in the research process and the aim and objectives of the study. The reliability of the research is maintained by adopting a well-designed research design. The confidentiality of the research participants will be maintained by keeping their information in a proper password protected file (Bernard, Russell, and Ryan, Gery 2010).
However, there are certain limitations of the research. For instance, if mood or the temperament of the research participants may get tempered by any national or international event, it may influence the result of the research study. Therefore, it is important that the researcher adopts proper sampling strategy and timeline for the research so that the research will be conducted properly. Other than that, a pilot study will be conducted which implies the research on a smaller level (Taylor, Bogdan and DeVault, 2015). The researcher can evaluate the shortcomings of the research with this process.
It can be summarized that the research design is an integral part of the research process. In the present, a case has been taken of a social media company which is trying to conduct an experiment regarding the impact of the digitized scents on the mood of the users. In the present, a research design has been proposed which can be used to conduct the research successfully. The research will also abide by the ethical standards to ensure the reliability and the credibility of the research work.
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