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Ethical aspects: Introduction

Research ethics

Ethics is an important part of any research practice: researchers are expected to conduct ethically responsible research. The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity is the most important framework that defines what it means to conduct responsible research.
Consider aspects such as:

  • honesty, scrupulousness, transparency, independence and responsibility (the 5 integrity principles)
  • informing and treating subjects/respondents with appropriate care
  • good data management

All Zuyd researchers are expected to adhere to this code of conduct and are required to sign the following statement:

  • Statement of the Dutch Code of Conduct for Scientific Integrity [see tab Code of conduct for research integrity].

Responsibility of researcher

However, signing the statement in itself is not sufficient. Unlike legal frameworks, this code of conduct does not specify in detail how to conduct research in an ethically responsible manner. The code of conduct provides a guideline, but it requires you to actively interpret its content and apply it to your research practice and permanently reflect on its design: not only with the methodological view of the scientist, but also with an ethical view.
Ethical reflection is therefore expected of you during all phases of a research process:
from formulating a research question, choosing methods, collecting and handling data and analyzing research data, to drawing conclusions, involving stakeholders and disseminating your results.

Responsibility of environment

However, ethical awareness and acting with integrity are not only a responsibility of you as a researcher, but also of your environment. Starting with the organization in which you work: jointly ensuring a shared research culture in which experiences and dilemmas can be discussed. Ethical choices sometimes only become visible when values or principles clash, then a dilemma arises. It is important to be able to speak openly and freely about this within your research group and within Zuyd.


Do you have questions about the integrity of your research design?
Or do you want to discuss a general ethical issue in the field of research integrity?

For advice around research ethics, you can contact Zuyd's Advisory Committee for Scientific Integrity (WIO).
More information on the tab 'Help with ethical issues'.

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