Research can be “defined as a scientific and systematic search for pertinent information on a specific topic” (Kothari, 2000, p. 2). A more precise definition will depict research as a systematic method that consists of “enunciation of a problem, formulation of a hypothesis, collection of facts or data analysis of the facts or data and the reaching of certain conclusion” (Kothari, 2000, p. 4). Thus, the research process consists of several activities that are aimed at achieving certain objectives. The procedures used in the research process have specific guidelines that are formulated to ensure a smooth flow during the research process. This paper seeks to identify the main differences between hypothesis and theory; identify and explain why ethical behavior actions are critical when researching an explanation on how researchers ensure that can validate or ensure that ethical standards are being followed.
The terms hypothesis and theory are important elements of the research process. “The term hypothesis is used to “refer to an explanation of things that occur; it can be used to refer to a simple guess” (Kothari, 2000, p. 5). In some instances, the term can be used to refer to a well-developed set of prepositions that are created to give a detailed explanation of how some occurrences or occurrence works (Kothari, 2000). The hypothesis is developed and examined as part of the larger scientific process. On the other hand, term theory can be regarded as being scientific in nature but of a less limited nature (Kothari, 2000). Theory can be used to explain incidences of different phenomena. Some explanations may use references that have been developed using simple guesses. A more precise explanation is that theory is a branch of study that is “focused on the general and the conceptual, as compared to the practical and the applied of the same subject” (Kothari, 2000, p. 5).
Ethics simply “distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behavior “ (Kothari, 2000, p. 12). Ethical behavior actions are very critical when conducting research. Several factors show why ethical behavior is important in research. First, norms support the objectives of research “such as knowledge, truth, and avoidance of error” (Kothari, 2000, p. 12). For instance, the rules that prohibit fabrication, use of false information, and misinterpretation of the established information ensure truthfulness in the research process. Secondly, research often involves the functions of different individuals from different areas and different institutions. Thus the establishment of “ethical standards promote the values that are essential for collaborative work, such as trust, accountability, mutual respect, and fairness” (Resnik, 2010, pars. 4). Thirdly, the research process attaches a lot of importance to ethical conduct for accountability. For example, “the federal policies on research misconduct, conflicts of interest, the human subject protection, and animal care are necessary” (Resnik, 2010, pars. 3). Finally, proper ethical conduct in research ensures that the researcher receives adequate public support which is vital for the promotion of the research activity. The ethical codes in research are generally summarized as “honesty, objectivity, integrity, carefulness, openness, and respect for intellectual property, confidentiality, responsible publication, responsible mentoring, and respect for colleagues, social responsibility, competence, legality and animal care” (Resnik, 2010, pars. 3).
Ethical codes in research are very complex and may sometimes create confusion. They can be equated to rules which do not take care of every situation that arises in the research process. Thus, it is important for “researchers to learn how to interpret, assess and apply various research rules and how to make decisions and to act in various situations (Resnik, 2010, pars. 5)”.
Kothari, C. (2000). Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques. New Delhi: Wishwa Prakashan.
Resnik, D. (2010). What is Ethics in Research & Why is It Important? Web.