Ethical Issues in Evaluation Research

Ethical Issues in Evaluation Research




Ethical Issues in Evaluation Research


It is very important that certain ethical issues be considered during the formulation of an evaluation plan. This is because in the course of the research, there are three distinctive sources of dilemma. There are those that arise in doing an evaluation, those that are created by an evaluator, and those that are unavoidable in the context in question. For this reason, there are distinctive types of considerations that help ensure that the evaluation plan does not infringe on the evaluator or the one being evaluated (American Evaluation Association, 2004). These rights include the Right to be informed on all matters concerning the evaluation process, the requirement of the evaluator and the participation process of the parties among others

In addition, these proceedings are required to take place in confidentiality, and in most cases if any parties wants anonymity in the research, it should be done as so. Lastly, the parties should state the level they are prepared to reach in terms of what they consider relevant components for the process among other things. This paper therefore seeks to look at a case study that involves a breach in ethical boundaries between a teacher and a participating student to identify the violated principles, the reasons behind them and the possible solutions.

Evaluation of the case scenario

In the case of Alyssa and her teacher Ben, the situation is that Ben firstly failed to disclose all the relevant information to Alyssa concerning her work and the expectations from the inspecting body. As a professor or teacher of a graduate class, it is obvious that Ben is fully aware of the repercussions of failing to meet any requirements (Kass, 2001). Despite the fact that he offers to represent her, the professor fails to have put enough importance in the need for Alyssa’s presence in the setting. In addition, he as a lecturer does not comment on Alyssa’s paper and yet that would have given him an idea of the probability of her work being chosen as among the best. This means that it did not matter that Alyssa could not afford her trip because Ben as a teacher had a fiduciary duty to ensure that all his students received all the possible aid to achieve academic excellence.

Further, it is inappropriate for a teacher to ask for representation as a co-writer especially in a case where he did not offer any help in the matter. This is especially so because it places Alyssa in an uncomfortable position of feeling the involuntary urge to include him as an author to get the only way out. Overall, however, the entire setting looks pre-meditated and as if the teacher did indeed have malicious intent against Alyssa where he may have realized that her work was good and decided to find a way to have his name included in it. This case scenario therefore brings into attention the breach of several ethical issues in the evaluation process of the research.

Ethical principles violated

In the above analysis, it is safe to identify that a number of issues that have caused the ethical uncertainties in the relationship between the teacher and Alyssa. Firstly, there is the lack of an informed consent such that the person that is participation in an evaluation should be informed of the evaluation process and the requirements (American Public Health Association, 2002). This means that the participating party should know who is carrying out the evaluation, how they do it, their requirements, the funding opportunities, the possibilities of success, and the impacts that winning, or losing may have on the individual. In addition, information on how to deal with distress or any challenges should be given as well to ensure that the process runs smoothly and that all those involved are content (Kass, 2001). This aspect is not available in the agreement between Alyssa and because she is not aware of what is likely to happen in the procedure. The teacher should have sought out avenues for her to afford the trip if he was aware of the condition and should have come up with a better way of dealing with the issue instead of trying to get credit for work he had not done.

Similarly, the ethical responsibility to ensure that the participator does not experience any form of distress or harm of both physical and psychological nature has also not been met (American Evaluation Association, 2004). This is because Alyssa is put at a very hard place where she may be forced to agree to something that she was not prepared for such as the sharing of credit with Ben. As seen in the case study, the whole situation causes stress, anxiety and feels like an invasion of privacy, which is against the ethical responsibility of an evaluator to a participant. These two issues therefore show that indeed, there has been a breach of duty in the process of the research evaluation and solutions should be identified to rectify this situation.

Possible actions for Alyssa

In this situation, Alyssa being a student and Ben her teacher gives her the first alternative of seeking aid form the school by reporting the case to the administration or a relevant party. In this case, Alyssa may seek assistance in payment of the trip as a payable loan or that the school could find a way to get an extension from the evaluating body until she finds means of paying for the trip. In addition, the school may be very effective in ensuring that Ben does not go behind Alyssa’s back and add his name as a co-author hence infringing on her right as the owner of the research that could cause future complications. If Alyssa has an extension of time, she may make it possible to raise the required funds that could pay for her trip in due course. The other suitable alternative could be that by the help of the school and that of Ben, Alyssa could seek allowance to do her representation in a video conferencing that could give her a chance to defend her work in person (Resnik, 2011). This could mean that her privacy and her work remain strictly hers and avoid the involuntary participation of Ben in her work.

Evaluation of Ben’s actions

Ben’s actions are most certainly malicious and irresponsible especially with him being a schoolteacher in a graduate class. This is because he should have made it certain that there were other avenues of Alyssa accessing her work during the evaluation by either by finding help in paying her flight or encouraging video conferencing. In addition, he should have gone through Alyssa’s work and commented informing her of her probability of success which could have ensured that she sought alternative means in due time. His actions make him appear as though he gave uninformed advice and was willing to interfere with the confidentiality and privacy of his student by suggesting that he should to get any form of credit from the work only upon successful evaluation.


This case scenario is among many others that show the types of ethical issues that are interfered with in the course of research evaluation. Ben failed to play his role as a teacher and an educator when he was required to disclose all the relevant information that could help in the preparation of any challenges along the way (Shamoo, 2003). On the other hand, Alyssa has multiple solutions to this case and seeking the relevant avenues especially through the help of the school could help open up avenues for her. From this case, therefore it is safe to conclude that there was a breach of ethical issues and that there are viable solutions to rectify the same.



American Evaluation Association (2004). Guiding principles for evaluators. Retrieved from

American Public Health Association (2002). Principles of ethical practice of public health. Retrieved from

Kass, N. E. (2001). An ethics framework for public health. American Journal of Public Health 91 (11), 1776-1782.

Resnik, D. B. (2011). What is ethics in research & why is it important. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Shamoo, A. E., & Resnik, D. B. (2003). Responsible conduct of research. Oxford University Press.



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