This paper looks at the ethical issues related to research work on the lack of parental involvement and its effects on the education of their children. A social research project on this topic involves a wide range of skills and activities. It requires the ability to work well with people of a wide variety, not to mention having a good understanding of the specific methods and techniques of conducting research. The researcher must understand the subject matter under study to properly craft an appropriate hypothesis and design methods to investigate it.
Once the experiments are conducted and the results are out, the researcher has to publish the findings to contribute to the body of knowledge. This is one main reason why ethical issues need to be considered; for the research findings to be considered a genuine contribution to science, it has to be objectively arrived at, using methods that are objective. A researcher cannot manipulate tests to prove his/her hypothesis; neither can they publish false results. This demands the highest behavioral standards of ethics, which concerns the doing what is right and avoiding doing harm to others.
Ethical considerations influence the research design because, by definition, conducting a research study scientifically may require the researcher to do things s/he does not normally do, such as controlling program implementation, asking research study participants some questions that may be inherently confidential and extraordinary. Budgets for research studies may also be limited, so researchers need to find the best tradeoff between the rigor and practicality, i.e., between the objectivity of results and the availability of funds and time. A researcher should, in addition to deciding on the feasibility of the research and the costs involved, question whether there are important ethical constraints that need consideration.
However, the main reason why social research must consider ethical issues with the research topic per se and the research process is that the subjects are human persons and, more specifically on the topic of studying the effects of parental involvement or the lack thereof, children of minor age. As a complicating factor, research on this topic demands the challenge of isolating the hypothetical cause (lack of parental involvement) from another plausible cause (poor performance of the teacher in school). Each potential subject cause - parent or teacher - would have a human tendency to blame the other for the child's poor performance.
This is why in previous studies on the topic, researchers had to isolate the quality of teachers or school instruction. Feinstein and Symons (1999) argued that children achieve more when they have parents who show high levels of interest in their schooling, regardless of the quality of the teachers or instruction. On the other hand, Henderson (2007) testified that close and regular communications between teachers and families is an effective strategy to improve student achievement, assuming that classroom teaching is effective in the first place.
There would be no problem with the objectivity of research results provided the assumptions, or the tests for their veracity, are clear. However, dealing with human subjects and investigating the behavior of minors, would