Right at the end

When you write your final project report, include a discussion of any ethical issues that arose and explain what you did to address these. Be honest and don’t try to conceal any problems. A thoughtful account of what you did and what you have learned from the experience will be to your credit rather than otherwise

Further work

Professional researchers occasionally act in ways that are unethical. Such misconduct is rare and is regarded very seriously.

Use the internet to search for terms such as ‘research misconduct’ and ‘scientific fraud’. Choose one case and try to find out what happened and why. Was the researcher under pressure to produce results? Was their misconduct deliberate or careless? Were people harmed (for example, if they took part in an unethical experiment, or if they were misled by incorrect results being published)? What happened to the researcher? What steps were taken to prevent future misconduct?

References

Ensuring Your Research is Ethical: A guide for Extended Project Qualification students

A guide produced by the Wellcome Trust, focusing on ethical issues in research projects relating to people and the environment, and containing additional references. 

The Research Ethics Guidebook

A guide to research ethics in the social sciences produced by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Researcher Development Initiative and the University of London’s Institute of Education. There is a useful section on ‘Conducting your research’, which includes case studies illustrating how researchers dealt with unexpected problems during their fieldwork. 

EPQ guidebooks

OCR: Crossland B, Walsh-Atkins P. Extended Project Student Guide. Hodder Education; 2009.

AQA: James M. Extended Project Student Companion. Nelson Thornes; 2009.

Edexcel: Swinbank E, Taylor J (eds). Level 3 Extended Project Student Guide. Pearson Education; 2009. 

About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Go Further: A practical guide to extended science projects’ in October 2016.

Topics:
Statistics and maths, Careers, Psychology
Issue:
Go Further: A practical guide to extended science projects
Education levels:
16–19, Independent research projects, Continuing professional development