A person who participates in any kind of research is known as a ‘Research participant.’ So when a person who voluntarily participates in some kind of human subject research after giving informed consent to be the subject of the research is known as a human subject or an experiment or study participant or subject.
Faculty researchers can easily avoid and minimize the potential of undue influence of student’s subjects just by recruiting students from other classes. The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) recommends that institutions must have the policies in place that elucidate for students and faculty researchers that any participation of students in research must be voluntary or considered as an additional voluntary activity.
What does coercion mean by Coercion in research?
Most coercion happens in research when an overt or implicit threat of harm is intentionally presented by a student to another in order to obtain fulfillment and compliance. To avoid the coercion between the students the faculty researchers should not be using students as study participants to acquire their desired outcome because it can influence the participants’ data and alter the outcome.
But the real question is, how can faculty researchers avoid undue influence of student subjects?
The undue influence of students’ subjects can easily be avoided by the faculty researchers if they consider the below mentioned points.
Give extra credit to those students who participate
The participation of students in a research is considered as a volunteering but reasonable levels of extra credit or rewards must be offered for students for participating in research. Faculty members should provide extra credit to those students who participate in their research as a study participant. This extra credit can be in the form of good grades or extra marks. The reason to provide extra credit to participants is to mainly motivate the students to do better.
Conduction of Research class for students
The faculty researchers should conduct research for participants’ students for less than 10 minutes in between the class so as to not take up much class time which helps the students to get to their desire for evidence in the classroom when teachers and faculty researchers conduct their own research during the class.
When faculty members recommend conducting research with students in their own classrooms during their class or with the students that they directly oversee as a participants, the potential for coercion or undue influence increases and additional protections are required.
The research during the class enables the students with more and more ideas to share results with their fellow students and researchers, and to contribute to the growing evidence-base around teaching and learning but In addition to it the main purpose to conduct a research for the students who participate is to inform action, to prove a theory, and contribute to developing knowledge in a field or study.
Inform the consent of research to participant’s students
The faculty researchers have to inform the students who participate in their research the whole consent of the research, which includes the risk of coercion when students participate in the research study or in any voluntary additional activities.
Moreover, informing the participants that the consent of research also includes that the participation will not affect their standing in the class or their grades in any way, the payment in exchange for their services in the research as a volunteering student. Moreover, the students who participate are allowed to withdraw from the study or the research at any time without charges or penalty.
The informed consent statements should be clarified to all the students who participate that withdrawal from the research study prior to completion will not affect their grade or standing in the class without penalty.
Offer more monetary compensation to participant’s students
Faculty researchers should provide more compensation to participant’s students for putting their time and effort in the research. As the faculty researcher has to discuss compensation with students who contribute and participate by informing them of the consent process for the research.
Although there are various reasons why faculty researchers pay monetary compensation to students who participate, clearly it is inappropriate to use monetary compensation as the main reason for students to consider participation in research.
Paying students who participate in the research is clearly an exchange for their participation which is a common and, in general, an acceptable practice. Payment to research subjects for participation by students in studies is not considered as a benefit that would be part of the weighing of benefits or risks as it is clearly a recruitment incentive.
Faculty Researchers cannot participate in their own Research
The faculty researchers cannot be compensated for serving as a participant along with the students in their own research because there are some special considerations and stipulations. The participation of researchers in their own research is considered as an unethical concern.
The fiduciary relationship between the Researcher and the Student
Faculty researchers have a fiduciary responsibility to facilitate student learning toward a specific goal or set of objectives. The researchers are considered as psychological investigators, on the one hand, and the individuals who provide data, but they also have a fiduciary relationship with their students.
The relationship between the researcher and the student is the perfect example of fiduciary relationship, where one is more powerful who is entrusted to protect the best interests of the less powerful or dependent person. In other words, this relationship can be described as an equal relationship between two persons.
Such methodological problems arise from the research designs to address these ethical issues and those ethical issues can easily arise from the fiduciary relationship between faculty researchers and their students, and violations of that relationship occur when the educator has a dual role as researcher with those students.
Avoid using faculty’s own students
To avoid the risk or coercion between the students the faculty researchers should not select their own students for their research. They should avoid using their own students in their research in the first place because faculty researchers who engage students who participate in their qualitative research often come across some methodological and ethical issues. Students who do not have any courses with the faculty should be recruited when possible because the students who participate from the faculty’s own classroom may feel coerced to participate in the research so to protect the student from coercion faculty members especially those who use students as a study participants must exercise caution to avoid students falling into the trap of subject coercion or constrain.