Ethical Principles of Autonomy and Fidelity, Essay Example

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Essay

Autonomy:

The ethical principle of autonomy in research is essential, since it presupposes that the individuals who represent the research subjects have the right and the capability to self-govern (Grodin & Glantz, 1994). Hence, according to the principle of autonomy, it is in full power of the potential research participants to decide on whether to participate or not participate in a certain research endeavor. The underlying belief that forms the principle of autonomy is that all people are capable of competent and voluntary decision-making, and they will make decisions in their interests and to their benefit. However, some subjects of research are considered incapable of making rational and objective decisions. Hence, such people are considered untrustworthy in their capability for autonomy, since they can harm themselves, or make certain decisions leading to risk or harm. Hence, it is the task of the researcher to distinguish clearly, which subjects are capable of executing autonomy, and which ones cannot (Grodin & Glantz, 1994).

Fidelity:

The principle of fidelity is also an essential ethical principle underlying the research practice and involved in the facilitating of the professionals’ decision-making processes. This principle implies the faithfulness of the researcher, keeping promises and agreements, and loyalty towards research participants, according to Ramsey’s (1970) definition. The present principle can also be extended further to cover the voluntary interpersonal relationships that include the researcher-participant, or counselor-client types thereof (Heppner, Wampold, & Kivlighan, 2008). The researcher and research participants establish a certain kind of relationships such as being honest, keeping the records confidential, maintaining anonymity of participants, being objective in the interpretation of results, etc. In case this relationship is violated, it is considered a breach of the fidelity principle. It is also notable that keeping to the fidelity principle is the key requirement for helping professions such as social workers, counselors, researchers, etc. (Heppner et al., 2008).

References

Grodin, M. A., & Glantz, L. H. (1994). Children as Research Subjects: Science, Ethics, and Law. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Heppner, P. P., Wampold, B. E., & Kivlighan, D. M. (2008). Research Design in Counseling. (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

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