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The basics of research methods, design, and analysis involve five specific principles.

  1. There must be a minimization of the risk of harm to the individuals involved in the process.
  2. Every participant must receive informed consent regarding the research that investigators are managing.
  3. Privacy protections must exist to help protect the confidentiality and anonymity of each participant in the research project.
  4. Researchers must avoid using deceptive practices.
  5. There must be an option available for participants to withdraw.

Why Must These Basics Be Followed?

The goal with these principles of basic research methods is to prevent harm from happening to participants. 

Several different types of harm can happen, intentionally or unintentionally. It may involve physical distress, psychological discomfort, social disadvantages, and even financial problems. That’s why it is essential to obtain informed consent about the project as part of the initial design.

Without a certain level of confidence that people will be safe during the research process, the data and analysis portion of the research will not have enough authenticity.

Deceptive practices can also eliminate the integrity of the data collected. If people get told that they are taking a placebo when they receive the actual treatment, then authentic results are no longer possible. The reverse is also true.

Even though participants can decide for themselves if they believe that they’re in a control or treatment group, researchers must provide as much honesty as possible. That’s why most studies tell subjects that the item they take might be a placebo, or it could be the item being studied. 

How Feasible Is It to Perform These Research Methods?

Feasibility doesn’t involve the cost of doing research. It is the possibility of understanding what is happening in the clinical setting while avoiding data distribution. Instead of having direct contact with the subjects in question, it may involve the use of public or online settings where barriers protect identities in both directions.

It may be impossible to know for sure when people are coming or going, but the basics of research methods must include the right to withdraw. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable with what is happening to them, then there is an ethical requirement to get out at any stage of the process.

That option even applies to the researchers and investigators into important topics, such as the impact of the flu or similar subjects..

These basics create ethical outcomes that promote more knowledge in whatever field being studied. It is how a solid foundation gets built. 

Scott Larson