Ethics is an important aspect of any research work, big or small.
At the RCG we have considered ethics in two ways. Firstly, we fully support the need for the traditional ethical clearance required for research work. Below you will find a free to download set of forms that are tried and tested in post-16 education and training environments. These forms can cover smaller action research project right through to larger pieces of research and encourage you to think about the use of practitioner work as well as more standard considerations such as Equality & Diversity or General Data Protection Regulation. These documents are open to individuals and institutions, so if you work in a college that lacks these building blocks, please feel free to download and rebrand to move you forward on your research journey.
Aside from access to our documentation, we also offer a ‘free to access’ ethics panel staffed by experienced sector researchers. This panel offers support to our ‘create’ and ‘collaborate’ communities but can also be used by independent researchers who may struggle to gain access to an ethics panel. Moreover, as development of the sector’s capacity to research runs through everything we do, you can collaborate with us by joining our ethics panel, either to contribute and give something back as an experienced practitioner, or to learn and develop as a new researcher! If you wish to access or join this panel, please contact us here.
We also want to consider the ethical issues that may be particular to Post-16 education and training. We believe that using previous practitioners’ work in your literature review is a good ethical choice, as it enables you to spotlight the good work of our colleagues. If we want to normalise the use of practitioner work then small steps contribute to this. It is also important that we consider crediting each other’s ideas. If we pick up ideas or concepts informally, we should credit them, much like Lou Mycroft’s recent ‘praxis cartography’ concept, that looks wider than just published work you’ve read. That is also why we ask all member organisations to credit the practitioner research work they use in their decision making and why we will only work with organisations that work with us on equal terms, or who develop the capacity of the sector when working with us. It is an important ethical question, should you work within a sector that struggles with its finance and sometimes with its reputation for research and not leave something positive behind?