Ethical Considerations in Research Across Cultures
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Through a review of relevant literature and institutional policies and guidelines on research ethics, this capstone project explored the effect that cultural components can have on the outcome of a project through the tendency of applying ethnocentric practices. In understanding that most U.S. institutions follow western philosophies for ethical practices, regardless of the scope of the research project or the background and cultural affiliation of research participants, it was suggested by the author that institutions utilize a questionnaire before conducting the research, as well as before working with research participants in international projects. The questionnaire focuses on common topics that are likely to address value systems across cultures. These topics include language, religion, socio-economic status, minority populations, the structure of social relationships, age of maturity, perceptions of power, concern for time, regard for material goods, display of emotions, and preferred style of communication. The intent for including these topics on a questionnaire before conducting research and working with research participants is to build cultural competency with researchers and ensure that all nuances have been addressed to better guarantee a successful research project that further minimizes unintentional harm to a research participant population. The questionnaire is presented in a way that encourages institutions to utilize the questionnaire in various ways and apply the information in different aspects of a project, depending on the needs of the institution and the project.