Research Ethics from 1st year?

Every year in my ICT class we have a mini research project where students create a questionnaire and interview their colleagues. This year I had a big surprise when I found out that some students were using Google forms to create the questionnaire and posting it on social media in order to get more answers.

So far, so good. The problem with this approach was that, due to the educational nature of the task, we are skipping many steps there are necessary when doing proper research (informed consents anyone?).

At the same time that I was happy to see that my students were using their critical thinking skills in order to streamline the process, I also felt responsible because I did not explain them about research ethics. To be fair, there is no time in the first year ICT class to explain the process and make activities.

What happened? Well, I could not let my students use that data knowing that the research process was flawed. Therefore, the whole assignment was canceled and as “punishment” students had to listen to me for one whole lesson explaining about research ethics. It was not a deep explanation but a primer that was long due.