Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ethics in Astro Ed Research

Brogt, et al, have completed a series of articles for Astronomy Education Review on ethical considerations while conducting astronomy education research. The articles help researchers become familiar with IRB processes, and the legalese behind researching students. The final article proposes a set of guidelines for our own field of astro ed.

Erik Brogt and his collaborators have written a series of three articles in Astronomy Education Review that not only detail the research ethics of studying students, but also present guidelines for the astronomy education research community. I think any researcher studying student learning of astronomy can benefit from reading these articles, regardless of whether or not there is intent to publish.

Regulations and Ethical Considerations for Astronomy Education Research, from July 2007, provides an overview of human subject research. The article applies this overview to astro ed research.

Regulations and Ethical Considerations for Astronomy Education Research II: Resources and Worked Examples, from January 2008, details the processes of an Institutional Research Board (IRB), and gives ethics considerations for several example astro ed research studies.

Regulations and Ethical Considerations for Astronomy Education Research III: A Suggested Code of Ethics, from November 2008, completes the series, giving a proposed set of ethical guidelines that astronomy education researchers should follow.

The guidelines are not dissimilar from other fields, but since our field is relatively young, I think having them specifically listed provides a good example for future research.

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