4. Ethical Issues

Reflective Exercise

Think about the types of ethical issues that could be encountered when researching with patients in the clinical area and how these might be addressed.

Examples that you could have thought about are:

  • Patients may feel they have to take part in the research (the researcher needs to ensure fully informed consent is in place and that patients are provided with a research information sheet. The researcher also needs to ensure that the staff are not acting in a coercive way).
  • Patients may provide the ‘right answers’ (the researcher would ensure the patients understand the need to respond in a way that reflects what they feel and think).
  • Patients may be confused about the role of the nurse as researcher/care provider (the researcher needs to communicate and make clear when they are collecting research data).


Follow up work could include visiting the following websites to look at explanations of when ethical approval is required for a study.

National Research Ethics Service: http://www.hra.nhs.uk/about-the-hra/our-committees/res/

Joint University Committee, Social Work Education Committee: Research Ethics: