Research Ethics in Data Collection and Analysis

Session Report
Vamsi Gokaraju


The online course on “Data Analytics for Policy Research”, aims to equip participants with advanced analytical skills. This program is organized by IMPRI Gen Alpha Data Centre. The session equipped policymakers, researchers, and data enthusiasts with cutting-edge analytical skills. The students went beyond theory and learned with hands-on training in data, analytics, and techniques, empowering participants to derive meaningful insights from complex data sets.

The session titled “Research Ethics in Data Collection and Analysis” is taken by Dr. Amar Jesani, Independent Researcher and Teacher, Bioethics and Public Health Editor at the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. This session focused on the ethical aspects of data and its relation to policy analysis.

Data Ethics and Policy Analysis

He highlighted the significance of ethics in research and data collection, particularly when collecting data from the public. Dr. Amar also emphasized the potential for data to be used by others as secondary data and the need to ensure ethical principles still apply. The discussion touched on various stakeholders involved in research beyond the researcher and the participants, including funders and gatekeepers, and the importance of being mindful of their potential impacts.

Dr. Amar also elaborated on the research ethics framework, emphasizing the importance of considering social values, scientific validity, and benefits to the people from whom data is collected. He cautioned against research that could be harmful or misleading and underscored the need for methodological rigor. The discussion also emphasized the potential harms of surveys and questionnaires and the need for reciprocity in research.

Ethics and Data Protection in Research

Dr. Amar stressed the importance of informed consent, transparency, and voluntary participation in research. He emphasized the need for ethical practices to protect research participants, including maintaining privacy and confidentiality, and warned against promising confidentiality if it cannot be upheld. Dr. Amar also discussed the selection bias in data collection and the importance of careful examination of data sources.

He emphasized the need for understanding the methodologies used in data collection and analysis, including the use of genetic data. Dr. Amar also highlighted the importance of data privacy and security, including proper anonymization and pseudonymization of data, and responsible sharing of data to prevent misuse. Finally, he discussed the issues related to data transparency, fabrication, and plagiarism in publication, emphasizing the need for good data in policy-making while taking ethical considerations into account.

Data Management

The session then moved on to the topic of Data Management which focused on what data management entails, and the different types of data available. Dr. Amar also explained how we need to manage our data with respect to the type of data available to the analyst. Dr. Amar also went on to explain Research Misconduct and its prevention in detail which involved covering topics such as plagiarism, authorship credits, data fabrications, and falsification.


The session held by Dr. Amar Jasani was very insightful and covered various aspects of ethics in research. Topics ranging from the importance of research in evidence-based policy to the importance of ethics in research were covered. Concepts such as the protection of participants and the protection of scientific integrity were covered in the “Importance of Ethics in Research” section of the session. The session also covered a just on the Research Ethics Framework which focused on the benchmarks or criteria for ethical research. The session then went on to talk about Data Management and ended with explaining in detail, the topic of research Integrity.

Question and Answer Session

After the session, Dr. Amar took a short Q&A session to make sure that the students were not confused with any concepts that were taught in the session. Various questions were asked which paved the way for a healthy discussion between the instructor and the students. Students asked doubts which helped them understand the concept in a better way. One participant asked Dr. Amar about the potential for gatekeepers to influence participants and the need for ethical clearance.

Dr. Amar responded by discussing how gatekeepers could potentially bias response rates and nudge participants toward giving preferred answers. He emphasized the importance of maintaining confidentiality, not informing gatekeepers about the selected households, and staying in neutral locations to ensure unbiased data collection. Dr. Amar also highlighted the need for extra time in fieldwork to prepare for potential changes in location or village. He then offered to answer any questions from the attendees and emphasized the importance of continued discussion on the subject.

Vamsi Gokaraju is a Research Intern at IMPRI.

Disclaimer: All views expressed in the article belong solely to the author and not necessarily to the organization.

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Posted by Vamsi Gokaraju, Research Intern at IMPRI.