THEME: ’Enhancing Ethical Research Conduct in the College of Education’’

The Human and Animal Research Ethics Services (HARES) Team of the Office of Research, Innovation and Development (ORID) organized a workshop in collaboration with members of the Ethics Committee for the Humanities. The workshop, which was the first of its kind for the College of Education took place on Wednesday, 28th September 2022. 

Ms. Helena Baidoo, team leader of HARES and moderator the workshop welcomed participants and extended the compliments of ORID on behalf of the Pro-VC (RID) and Director of Research to all. Ms. Baidoo emphasized that ORID in its capacity as a research office of the university seeks to engage with faculty and students on learning platforms such as workshops to advance the ethical clearance processes. She was optimistic that the workshop will be a good opportunity for faculty to have a fruitful discussion on challenges with ethical clearance. She expressed her appreciation to the Dean of School of Continuing and Distance Education (SCDE) Professor Olivia Kwapong who took time off her busy schedule to participate in the workshop.

Professor Kwapong stated that the workshop was timely and valuable to the College of Education given the increasing volumes of research being conducted by faculty. She thanked ORID for the initiative and hoped that it will set the stage for further action for ethical research conducted within the College.

Prof. Mate-Kole, Chairman of ECH, expressed gratitude to participants for attending the workshop. He emphasized the essence of the workshop and posed thought provoking rhetorical statements to generate discussion among participants on the core mandate of the ethics committees.

Speaking on the role of UG ethics committees, Ms Baidoo mentioned that the rights, safety, dignity and general wellbeing of research participants form the fundamental basis on which every decision is made by committees. Additionally, she indicated that ethics committees are involved in ancillary roles which include monitoring, training, and other extension services. She revealed that the current ethical guidelines emanated as a result of past abuses in the conduct of research. Past infractions have given rise to extensive ethical guidelines to guard against misconduct. She illustrated how the three main principles of research: respect for persons, beneficence and justice are employed by ethics committees in review processes. She touched on some shared values in research including honesty, accuracy, efficiency, and objectivity that must be adhered to.

In his presentation, Pro. Mate-Kole took members through some major challenges identified in protocols and the general format expected of protocols submitted for review. He ran participants through the ethical review process and highlighted some challenges that committees face in the review process. Notable among them were inappropriate or poorly developed methods; poor understanding of the study; or subject matter or scope of work; poor academic writing skill; falsification non-conformance to guidelines and plagiarism. Prof. Mate-Kole made participants appreciate the importance of ethical clearance as a major step towards publication of research findings.


Prof. Sakyi-Dawson in delivering the final presentation, provided insights on the process of obtaining informed consent during research. She stated that consent is not an inclusion criterion and must not be obtained through undue influence, coercion, or at the vulnerability of respondents.  Drawing from her experience, she went on to say that the consent process should not jeopardize participants' privacy, personal relationships, or health. Entreating participants to apply basic ethical principles outlined in previous presentations, Prof. Sakyi-Dawson demonstrated with practical examples how various elements of the consent process including the language used, identifying risks and discomforts, benefits, confidentiality and privacy among other issues can be addressed. She concluded her presentation by reiterating the importance of assuring research participants that a change of mind would not result in any penalties, deprivation of privileges, or rights.

The workshop provided participants with a plethora of professional knowledge about ethics review committees' activities and expectations. At the end of the programme, facilitators and participants shared perspectives, on the knowledge gained.

Participants in a group photograph