Research misconduct is an act for which research can be asked to pay millions of dollars as a punishment. There are three main factors that come under misconduct during the aspect of data collection. The first one is that of fabrication. In this data collection type, everything is managed by the researcher. The second factor is of falsification. In this type, data is manipulated. And the last one is plagiarism, within which data is not cited, and simply copied from someone else’s work.
Strategies to Avoid Research Misconduct
Following practices are considered as best for the reduction of level regarding research misconduct;
Make Policies for Research Work
The very first step towards controlling research misconduct is to make policies for it. It can be on both institutional, as well as national levels. In these policies, it should be mentioned how to train all of your research staff. Every member should be aware of his/her responsibilities, and the organisational values. For example, your research type needs data from labs. In labs, you’re supposed to teach lab keepers, lab attendants, assistants, students, and advisors.
Teaching matters for all the members who are present, and contributing to the aspect of data collection. Even the person who is collecting data from the field is also a part of this team. Authorities should spare some time for hearing the concerns of every member. It’s just like give and take. When you value someone, the next person also obeys you. Discuss their problems, and sort this out at your level best. Let them know how research misconduct creates issues at a higher level. Also, let them know about the penalties for it.
Standards for Data Collection
After releasing policies regarding research work, there should be some designed standards. Research work is not a general assignment where you can skip the quality of work. In research work, you’re supposed to meet high standards. Every member is responsible for ensuring this. This is because you have to provide data standards in all types of data collection aspects. It can be data collection for field surveys, or lab testing. For every kind of data collection, standards can vary. During data collection, there should be some senior for supervising the whole procedure. Senior writers from best dissertation writing services can also be hired for this purpose. Also, members are supposed to follow the instructions of that senior.
For example, at the institutional level, there can be senior staff for monitoring, and ensuring the standards. And if we talk about the national level, there can be some kind of department that evaluates your work as per the national standards. This approach helps in building a community where no one is left with confusion about research quality. Every new member should ensure this set of standards so that he/she may not face problems. This way, you can have a healthy work environment that is free from research misconduct.
Critical Evaluation of Checklist
In the aspect of data collection for research work, every member must be provided with the checklist. If you’re collecting data in the form of a survey, interview, observation, or from lab testing, there should be a checklist. This checklist is considered the most important element in the case of data collection from lab testing. In lab testing, a small mistake can change the whole results. So you have to be very careful in this case. This is also another reason as to why every step of the checklist should be followed in a righteous way.
Also, the researcher needs to make proper notes of the whole procedure through inclusion of the right evidence. Because the researcher can be asked about the detail of such notes and checklists. In the end, he has to submit a checklist, notes, and data. All these things should be placed in the form of record. That record can be investigated at any time. This approach can work very well in terms of avoiding research misconduct.
Arrange Training Sessions
Sharing of policies comes under a broader perspective. In this domain, people get awareness, but they’re not trained. It’s very common to happen that people might not want to go for misconduct, but they unintentionally do that. This happens just because of a lack of training. They do not even know that they committed an act of misconduct. That is how things can happen. The solution for such problems is to arrange proper training sessions. In training sessions, there should be different activities that are related to data collection aspects. Such sessions can consist of four phases that are as follows;
- The first phase is letting them know about the collection, and documentation of work.
- In the second phase, every member should be asked to collect, and document data by himself/herself.
- The third phase can be that of evaluation. Critically evaluate the whole process, and identify mistakes during this phase. And then let them know how they can correct each mistake. Make sure they understand this properly.
- Lastly, encourage them to re-conduct the data collection process.
These training sessions can be arranged as per the demand of hours. It can be according to the interest of researcher, or it can be forced one.
Institute of Research Integrity
There should be an institute whose responsibility should be to investigate research misconduct. There should be compliance officers as well in this domain. These officers must be professionals in the research field. But they should not be a part of any research at that time. You can term this institute as ORI. ORI stands for the office of research integrity. The team of ORI will investigate all faulty researchers, and take action for all of them. This action would be based on the right evidence.
To have control of research misconduct is not very difficult task. It can be controlled very easily when every person understands his duty. No one wants to put his reputation at risk. The government, and concerned institutes should understand their responsibilities within this context. They should provide righteous financial support to the researchers so that they don’t compromise on the quality of data. Identification regarding the core factors that cause research misconduct should be ensured, along with their evaluation.
Concerned parties should also find the best-suited solution for that, and develop an environment of honesty, and trust. Every step as disused above has its own importance. This way, research gaps can be covered in a very short time. It also works well in terms of maintaining the integrity of the researcher, and his institute. Once a researcher or institute loses its reputation, it becomes challenging to make name within the market quickly. But it takes really long to do so.