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The Research Question in the Sciences

This guide will help you formulate a quality research question when dealing with topics in the sciences.

Ethical Issues

With many experiments come a wide range of ethical questions that should be considered.

Human Subjects:  Will your research involve human subjects?  If so, there are strict guidelines that will have to be adhered to, as well as securing the permission and understanding of the subjects.  There are different levels of human involvement in studies and a project will have to undergo scrutiny to decide at what level humans are to be involved in testing and thus, what procedures must be adhered to. Several institutions have published sets of guidelines that should be adhered to if your research involves human subjects.  One such example is from the Purdue OWL Primary Research Guide. If the institution sponsoring the research study receives any kind of federal support, then the project may need to be examined by the IRB (institutional review board) who will determine the risk factor of the research and make recommendations for its implementation.

Animal Subjects:  There are also guidelines to be considered if your primary research involves animal subjects.  Every institution that receives federal money must have an IACUC: Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. An example of these guidelines is available from the American Psychological Association.