Ethics in data collection is not only an important but a sensitive issue, the respondent has all the right to say no to answer questions to your answers. He has all the right to say no to participation in the survey and it all depends on his/her will that you will be able to collect data.
Consent of the respondent
The willingness of the respondents is necessary to collect data using any data collection tools. There is no guarantee that the respondents will participate in the survey or any other research method that you are using in your research. Your sample size should be flexible enough to accommodate for any inconvenience that might result from the denial of some of the respondents from participating in the survey. Sometimes the respondents are willing to participate in the survey but when they are asked some sensitive questions they do not give an answer to them, this poses great problems for the researcher to analyze the responses later on.
Understanding respondents limits
Every respondent has some limits and reaching beyond that limit makes it unethical on the part of the researcher. Those questions that have some kind of sensitivity or emotions attached to the respondents need to be dealt with care. The researcher should give them full confidence that such questions answers will be kept private and the respondents’ identity will be kept anonymous. Some questions pose threat to the life of the respondents’ such question should be avoided in case it is necessary to ask such question the researcher should give confidence to the respondents that their answers will not pose any threat to their life. Some respondents may not be confident about the confidentiality of their answers and may deny answering such questions the researcher has no right to force them to answer these questions. In short, the researcher needs to understand the limits of survey and the ethics that should be kept in mind.
Asking questions about sensitive questions
Sensitivity is a subjective issue and not every respondent will feel same sensitivity regarding the same question. Some respondents will be willing to answer about sensitive issues others might not be comfortable and will refuse to do so. Usually, the most sensitive questions should be asked when the respondent has gained confidence about the survey and he has developed trust on the researcher.
The confidentiality of the answers
The researcher should not misuse the information provide by the respondents. The researcher interprets the responses of several respondents and makes conclusions, he/she does not and should not use the information provided by the respondents individually. He should keep the privacy of each respondent in mind and should inform the respondents that their answers will be kept confidential.
Providing no harm to the respondent
This is an obvious fact that a researcher is a person who is in search of knowledge and has no aims to provide harm to the respondents. The researcher should not provide any harm to the respondents unintentionally by leaking any information they have provided.