The result of unethical research can produce negative consequences to the entire community, different from the original, often well-intended intentions of the researcher. Thus, It is imperative for researchers to ensure that their research is done competently, as well as ethically (Tangen, 2014). Jane Zeni has developed a useful guide for researchers to reflect upon, considering the research overview, methodology, research subjects and subjectivity, and risks and benefits (Zeni, 1998). In this essay, I shall be aligning myself broadly with Zeni's checklist, highlighting key ethical issues arising from Scenario B. then discussing ways that they can be addressed.
First, we must look at the overall relevance of the research problem, on whether there are specific problem(s) that the researcher wishes to address or whether there are benefits to be had after the research is complete. For Scenario B, it was implicit that the teacher wishes to address the issues of cyberbullying in the school. In addition, she proposes measures to change policy and further address the issue.
Though it was important that she identified a research problem (i. e., cyber-bullying) to be brought to the attention of the stakeholders, there was no specific research question that she seeks out to answer. Also, as is, the research problem (assumed thus to be the question) may not be "answerable" (Creswell, 2002, p. 199) because of its 'size'. There was an absence of a singular focal point where she aims to address the issue of cyberbullying, which renders it difficult for her to extrapolate her specific findings to address cyberbullying altogether.
An effective way to arrive at a more specific research question is to refine the issue to be examined and remove any "multitude of aspects". (Flick, 2009, p. 100). For beginning researchers, it will be more prudent to gain a basic understanding of an issue. Also, a specific research question can be formulated with the inclusion of other stakeholders. For example, she could invite fellow Year 13 teachers to collaborate, via a focus group, in developing more in-depth research question(s) to be answered.
Second, Zeni (1998) recommends for teacher-researchers to consider their methodology of data collection, and whether the research falls into the "zone of accepted practice" (p. 13).
We first consider the methodology that was used regarding the research question. In this scenario, the teacher chose to use an anonymous survey, with fields (implicit) that allow respondents to describe incidents. The development of a survey shows that the teacher was interested in studying the phenomena of cyber-bullying in her school. However, as the survey was invitational and hosted online, it does not ensure the participation of the entire Year 13 population, or might attract trolls who deliberately sabotage the survey with multiple bogey entries. Also, the survey may not accessible...