This happens far too often. There is a student who is required to conduct a research study. There is nothing wrong with this, I had to do it. The issue is with how these people obtain thier sample group.
Lately, there has been a trend of students reaching out to autistic content creators and group administrators to post about their studies for them. This is highly unethical. The students are literally asking disabled marginalized people to do the labor for them. This was the first thing my study professor stated when she was assigning the final Capstone project.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, all ethic guidelines apply to professionals, students and paraprofessionals. “Actions that violate the standards of the Ethics Code may also lead to the imposition of sanctions on psychologists or students whether or not they are APA members by bodies other than APA, including state psychological associations, other professional groups, psychology boards, other state or federal agencies, and payors for health services.“
Disabled people have a right to dignity.
“Psychologists respect the dignity and worth of all people, and the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination. Psychologists are aware that special safeguards may be necessary to protect the rights and welfare of persons or communities whose vulnerabilities impair autonomous decision making. Psychologists are aware of and respect cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status, and consider these factors when working with members of such groups. Psychologists try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices.“
When I was in college, we went over these guidelines so we would be prepared in selecting our project and writing our proposal.
There is a specific guideline in the code of ethics that speaks against this:
“Psychologists do not solicit testimonials from current therapy clients/patients or other persons who because of their particular circumstances are vulnerable to undue influence.”
There is one student who has been messaging administrators of autistic led groups and autistic content creators to advertise the study for them.
Deadnaming wasn’t ok but he obviously doesn’t know me.
He also messaged another autistic content creator Angry, Asian and Autistic.
I realize this student isn’t American but I am sure the psychological association for where he lives has similar if not identical guidelines. Asking other people, let alone disabled people do the work for the students defeats the purpose of the whole project. Disabled people who work in certain fields do earn significantly less than their non disabled peers. Most of the time, it’s under minimum wage and that needs to change. Trying to exploit disabled content creators does not help this in the least.
My Own Research Project Done The Right Way
When it was time to start my senior project, there were very strict guidelines. There were ways we were allowed to collect our sample group. 1/4 was the work in putting it together, 1/2 was the actual report and 1/4 was the presentation of the project. This project is a way of teaching people how to conduct research.
The first step was the write the hypothesis (problem statement), methodology, limitations and variables. This had to be approved by the professor. When writing the problem statement, the class received a list of topics and population groups. The first thing my professor said was that disabled people were not allowed. This was to prevent exploitation of disabled people, even if the researcher themselves was disabled. There is research involving the disabled population should be reserved for professionals because they are trained in ethical research, students are not. Then the methodology, limitations and variables came naturally.
Second Step was an Annotated Bibliography
This was to show I did my research appropriately.
The next step was the literary review. This is similar to the annotated bibliography, this was to obtain information on the topic.
Next step was to write the proposal. This proposal was to include cited sources into what I was going to research and learn as a result of this project.
The next step was the informed consent. Every research study, no matter how invasive or non invasive needs an informed consent.
Next I had to submit my survey questions. This was to obtain approval from my professor.
The next step was to collect data. I went to several veterinary offices so I could conduct my survey. My project was to find out opinions and attitudes about pet sterilization. I did the footwork. It was a lot of work but it did teach me a lot. I went to about 10 different veterinary offices and they helped me gain data to allow me to contact their clients for this purpose. This was very helpful.
The next step was to submit my data analysis before writing up my report.
After the data analysis, it was time for the discussion section.
All these sections were completed and approved by the profession, then came the final report. It was knowing how to put everything together like a perfect jigsaw puzzle. Since I did so well on my project, I posted it on academia.com
No exploitation of disabled or other marginalized groups were needed. I did it the right way with a professor guiding my every step. This is how to conduct student research properly. After all those steps, I earned a 90%. I can almost guarantee, the way this student researcher reached out to autistic people, his professor would not approve.
If you have a research project that is required for your degree, do the work yourself. Don’t make disabled people do the work for you. I should not have to say that its unethical.
My own Capstone project