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Principles of Good Citizenship in International Academic Research

This paper frames some of the considerations to be made when designing a research on principles of good citizenship in international research. From the considerations, it is clear that the relevancy of the topic itself has to be questioned before designing a research methodology or writing anything in relation to the topic. One key consideration is the theoretical value or contribution of anticipated work. Each research work, it is made clear, has to have significance and validity.

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Ethics define good morals that should be upheld at various levels of human interactions. Every institution, profession and society has got a set of codes and regulations that guide individuals on how to conduct themselves. The ethical postulations are summed up as principles that individuals within such organization, institution and society have to abide by. Human beings are so diverse as a result of the divisions caused by geographical locations, races and culture. Despite the diversity people are at various points in life brought together to discuss, or work together to solve various life issues. One most common issue that brings together people from various walks of life is education. Students from various parts of the world have found themselves in the same schools, colleges and universities pursuing various academic programs together.

Whenever the students come together from different walks of life, they interact share learn new concepts of life from one another. In this situation, some tend to feel more superior to others based either on their race, economic status and academic performance. As a result of the superiority and inferiority feelings the “superior” one want to dominate the rest of the students and will be seen on the forefront in most or all activities. To govern or guard such individuals from going overboard principles have been set up at the college level as well as in the various professions they undertake. At the college level, the principles and ethics meant to guide the students to interact in a harmonious way. The professional ethics on the other hand are to instill professional ethics in their professions.

Every profession has got its own principles to guide the professionals within the particular field on how to conduct themselves when offering service to those who seek such services from them. The ethics are controlled by professional bodies and are charged with the responsibility of monitoring and ensuring that the professionals within a particular profession abide by the regulations set out by the profession. The professional body registers and can also deregister or recommend other disciplinary measures against the members who do not abide by the set out codes of conduct.

Some Universities integrate ethics as an area of study in their syllabus to ensure every student going through their programs acquires these values. Stanford for example hosts the centre of ethics, centre for biomedical ethics and the undergraduate program on ethics in society (Taylor & Perry, 2009). Debates on ethics are today common in every arena, beginning from business, politics and medicine. Business sector has experienced an array of scandals where scrupulous business persons and professionals use crude means to gain money from customers.

The ethics in society program at the Stanford University has a focus on the ethics and its and humanity (Taylor & Perry, 2009). The program is integrated with the ethical issues of society. According to the program director, as reported on the departmental website (Taylor & Perry, 2009), ethical considerations should not be relegated to classroom considerations or newspapers consideration of happenings in society only. Members of the program have to move towards action by participating in national disasters programs. Ethics are applicable in every life aspect, sector of development and information on ethics should not be a reserve for only a few individuals or members of given professions only. Ethical issues span from ones community, profession and the world at large.

In today’s’ world, ethical considerations of environmental issues have become critical with the world experiencing serious environmental problems. The environmental problems have arisen as a result of not considering ethical issues around the environment. Manufacturing industries have contributed so much in deterioration of the environment without considering the problems that are likely to arise from such environmental exploitation. Manufacturing Industries ignore the ethical implications of pollution and gone ahead to release hazardous wastes into the environment. The same has happened to the highly industrialized nations which are said to release tonnes of waste into the environment leading to environmental problems such as global warming. This has led to weather changes that have cut across the world leading to serious food shortages.

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Ethics are therefore to be observed in every aspect so as to avoid the consequences that may come about as a result of not abiding by the ethics. Considering the students affairs, education today presents students with greater challenges spanning from emerging technology in education, high costs of education, as well as the greater demand for accountability. The wingspread group (1993) indicates that students can be helped to ease off from this pressure by being allowed to pursue courses that engage them in the central mission of their institutions.

Researchers play a very vital role in coming up with measurable findings on various issues. There are various research tools which researchers use to come up with information on various topics such as education, communication, diseases, human settlement and so on. Institutions, organizations, governments as well as individuals use this information for planning, making predictions and carrying out further studies on the topics. Background information is very important in designing a research on a topic of study. This can be gained through reading, interviewing relevant persons in the field and visiting relevant sites on the internet for theory on the topic. After the theory is gathered, an analysis has to be carried out and the findings represented such that they can be understood by in practical terms as to how a solution can be found from the study problem.

There are a number of research data collection methods such as interview, questionnaires, observation which can either be used in combination or by choosing on one or two depending on the type of research as well as the extend of the research. For a researcher to get the right response from an interview or a questionnaire, they have to make sure that they pose the right questions to get the right response from the respondents. The validity of a research largely depends on the accuracy the research tools can guarantee.

The methodology used in carrying out a research needs to fit with the research question which acts as a guide to the research. In many occasions, researchers tend to change the questions they initially indented to research on and pose questions according to the interests of their respondents. Edmondson & McManus (1995) argue that state of prior theory is used as a starting point for achieving a methodological fit in a research field. Prior theory in the field of study thus acts as a basis for carrying out further studies in the field.

Two most important research theories exist as follows; mature and nascent research theories. Mature research theory is where there is existing constructs on which the research questions are focused. Quantitative data for the research in this model is also based on the measures where the amount is most important (Edmondson & McManus, 1995).

Nascent research theory is where there exists no prior theory. In this case, the research question is open-ended and the data collected is in quantities which initially require interpretation to get a meaning. Maturing or intermediate theory makes use of the mix of qualitative as well as the quantitative data. This approach allows researchers to be able to be able to carry out tests on variables using quantitative data. The qualitative data is then used to explain the important theoretical concepts of the study. Intermediate theory can therefore important in making a link between key process variables as well as identifying new links between the variables.

According to Glaser & Strauss (1967), most researchers use the grounded research theory in creating a connection between the existing theory and the new suggested theory. This allows the processes of data collection and data analysis to be carried out simultaneously in an alternating manner. Using an iterative process of data analysis during data collection process helps in defining and developing study questions for subsequent data collection process. The process of iteration between data collection process and analysis allows a researcher the flexibility to follow up on promising leads and abandon lines of promise that prove fruitless (Edmondson & McManus, 2007).

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The theories have in most cases been criticized to lack the ability to act as a covering law; the assumptions derived from the researches are generalized to apply to the rest of the issues in the field of study. The research theory is supposed to enlighten on the topic of research, and narrow down the topic to specific issues rather than dealing with the general idea in broad. In doing this, the researcher is able to focus exactly on information that will help them build a concrete research and ignore unnecessary issues as defined by the research questions.

According to DiMaggio (1995) narration is another aspect of research theory that is important in building up a research work. The research concepts are developed and arranged in a logical and meaningful manner based on the research theory that defines the work. Theories explain the concepts as well as the reasons for the variance in the concepts and findings that the research comes up with. These explanations are implemented through narrations basing on the theory.

A research theory also acts as a slogan for the research work, setting a relevant research theory will act as a resonance in the preexisting ideas in the mind of the reader (DiMaggio, 1995). A fascinating research theory acts as a selling slogan of the research work so produced, it in the long run attracts more readers who due to the set slogan keep reading and redefining the idea to fit it into already existing schemes. For a theory to act as a good slogan, it has to have a wider and deeper scope as to cut across several fields of study. Doing this would mean that the research work will be relevant to readers of different interests of study and not just necessarily readers from the field of study from which the research work is based. An enriched theory can therefore make a research work be a relevant reference for other researchers with interest in related fields who will build on and make further improvements on the paper.

Based on this argument, every researcher must pay attention to theories while presenting his or her research ideas in form of a research paper. The theory has to be grounded in the literature so as to achieve a literature that answers all the questions posed in the problem statements. Many critics do argue on whether indeed there is a standard research theory for any research. They hold on the view that theory for any research is to the perception of every individual and that everyone is bound to perceive differently.

Feldman (2004), proposes a number of guidelines which he stress a standard theory must satisfy. First, he suggested that all questions of study are important and should be explored as widely enough as possible without paying more attention to some at the expense of others that may be treated as trivial. The extend of the articles literature review should be more enhanced as compared to previous research works in the field. This is achieved by reviewing and compiling as many articles as possible that been previously worked on by other researchers in the same or related field. Carrying out an extensive literature review makes the paper more exhaustive in the area of study. Authors and editors of a research work always strive to exhaust all the variables in the topic of study. It’s important to always strike a balance between exclusiveness and exhaustiveness of theory to ensure that what they are striving to exhaust is focused and relevant to the topic of study.

The author should equally strike a balance between divergent as well as convergent ideas. Convergent ideas tend to focus more on the topic of research. On the other hand, divergent ideas bring in related ideas to build up the research and compare it to other findings in related areas of study. Giving greater attention to divergent ideas may lead to diversion of the whole topic. So as much as its very vital to bring in the divergent ideas, caution should be taken to ensure there is no much digression from the main topic. Authors need to be aware of the contents that can be classified as theory and those that fall out of theory so as to avoid confusion.

Sutton & Staw (1995) advise researchers to eliminate data, reference, variables, hypothesis and diagrams in a theory statement. The two scholars argue that reference does not qualify for theory. It instead sets a basis for concept argument which the authors have to acknowledge. By listing the names of theories or schools thought without exactly explaining the contents of the theories or schools of thought, one does not contribute to the theory of the research. Citing the theories in a paper without revealing to the reader what the theory is all about and as well relating it to the paper to make prediction does not contribute to the theory of the paper. According to Sutton & Staw (1995), this is a tactic where an author uses reference as a smoke screen to hide the absence of theory in their work.

Sutton & Staw (1995) argue that data does not qualify to be treated as theory because data refers to the empirical patterns observed, while on the other hand theory concentrates on explaining why the observed empirical patterns. Data provides support for theory but can not be itself treated as theory. Editors and reviewers argue that most authors gather empirical results from previous researches and develop them directly into what they claim is theory for the research.

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Authors in the same vein present a list of variables as well as definitions to represent theory. Variables must explain why variables come about and why they are connected (Sutton & Staw, 1995). Testing a variable in relation to other variables is different from making a comparative test of theory. Variables support theory but can not be taken as theory on their on.

Diagrams as well as figures do not represent theory; they however form a critical part of theory. They are an important part of the research in that they can be used towards basically understanding of the literature; reducing the many words that could rather be used to explain a particular concept. Diagrams and figures can be utilized to represent the logical relationship between events or in explaining the flow of events in terms of procedure. These form an important part of theory building and is good especially for writers who are less endowed with words. They can be able to utilize diagrams as well as figures to bring out ideas to their audience in a clear form. Diagrams and figures alone can not explain why certain concepts in the research seem to be connected. Therefore, there is need for some explanations that should accompany the diagrams so as to build theory.

Hypothesis act as a link between data and theory and also explain how the variables and the logical argument from the theory can be made operational. They are mere statements about what is expected but do not explain why the particular outcome should occur as expected. It can be concluded therefore that theory is what caries the answer to the questions or problem of research as well as explaining why certain concepts are connected. Based on this argument it is therefore easier to evaluate and tell whether a research work does have theory or lacks theory.

Theory can also be further classified as strong or weak depending on how it is ordered and the content. The measure of a good theory is based on the fact that it can be able to explain the concept of study; it can also predict and delight the information. Researchers therefore need to put more time, energy and read gather more information through reading in order to come up with much stronger theory. A stronger theory helps a researcher develop good literature for the paper and elicit more information for the readers.

Originality of the theory, concepts as detailed in a research paper go a long way in defining how much the paper informs the audience. Editors and reviewers of research papers have mostly rejected many papers presented for publication arguing that the papers are either replications of previous works or simply irrelevant offshoots of work done by other researchers in the field. According to Weick (1995) most journals are suffering the rush for submission with half baked theory. This leads to outright rejection of the papers for publication purposes. He further alludes that most authors of research papers tend to approximate theory rather than develop a precise theory about the topic of study

Ethics has to be integrated in every life aspects so as to instill them in the minds of all humanity irrespective of their lines of study. Professional bodies should strengthen their modes of enforcing professionalism among the members of the profession. Education programs should be developed in a way that will help students going through the program to be able to capture the concepts and keep them as a way of life. Other ways of instilling ethics in people should be developed so that all individuals are taught about the ethics when writing a research paper,

Reference

DiMaggio J. (1995). Comments on “What Theory is Not” Princeton: Princeton University

Edmondson C. & McManus S. (2007), Methodological Fit in Management Field Research. London: Harvard School of Business.

Feldman, D. (2004). What We are Talking about When we Talk About Theory. London: Sage Publications.

Sutton, I. & Staw, M. (1995). What Theory is not? Web.

Taylor, K. & Perry, J. (2009). Was on War and Ethics. Web. 

Weick E. (1995). What Theory is Not, Theorizing Is. Michigan: University of Michigan.

Wingspread Group on Higher Education. (1993). An American imperative: Higher expectations for higher education. Racine, WI: The Johnson Foundation.

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