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Ethics (Pat Mahony)

As with any other enquiry into human behaviour, research into teacher education raises a number of ethical concerns. These include: issues of confidentiality and anonymity; potential tensions between the researcher's inside/outside status; diverse accountabilities that may lead to conflicts in reconciling the need not to be damaged, of the various constituencies affected by the research; and establishing the parameters of the domain occupied by the research participants. The latter can pose particularly tricky problems. For example, in researching the experiences of ‘trainee' teachers, one inevitably collects data that includes information on people who have not consented to be involved, such as school staff and children. Many of these issues are dealt with at

Ethical issues become more urgent if such data reveal that harm is being perpetrated, for example that a trainee teacher is being subjected to racist comments whilst on school placement. The avoidance of harm, for those philosophers who espouse a naturalistic theory of ethics is fundamental to what constitutes behaving morally. Mahony's paper Should ought be taught? begins to explore the potential of naturalistic theories to support teachers in developing ethical understanding and can equally be applied to researchers.

Mahony, P (2009) Should ought be taught? Teaching and Teacher Education,  25(7), pp. 983-989












How to reference this page: Teacher Education Group (2009) The Teacher Education Bibliography. London: TLRP. Online at (accessed )

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