Journal article

Codes are not enough: What philosophy can contribute to the ethics of educational research

R Small

Journal of Philosophy of Education | Published : 2001


Formal codes of ethics are not the best way of addressing ethical issues arising in educational research. Philosophers have often exaggerated the importance of such codes, although philosophy has little to contribute to them. What we need rather is a closer attention to the ways in which ethical decisions about research are actually made. Moral theory can contribute here by clarifying this process and identifying helpful procedures and strategies, such as those used by institutional review committees in arriving at good judgements. New and unfamiliar situations require us to extend our existing abilities, not to return to first principles and set up formal codes.

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