Research Merit and Integrity

Research Merit and Integrity

Research deemed to have merit is well justified, meets relevant quality criteria and is conducted by persons or teams with sufficient experience and competence. Justification of research relates to its potential benefit in the form of new knowledge or improved social welfare or individual wellbeing. Meeting relevant quality criteria means that the research demonstrates alignment between the aims, questions, methodology and methods, and that these are appropriate to the research context. Beyond the relevant research skills, a competent research team requires as a minimum a foundational knowledge of the culture, political situation, history and values in the relevant country and local context. Inclusion of adequately experienced local researchers with appropriate language and cultural understanding may improve research integrity and offer opportunity to build research capacity in development countries.

Research integrity is secured by research (and research funder or commissioner) commitment to genuine search for knowledge and understanding. Integrity also encompasses dissemination and communication of results not only to research participants but more broadly, in ways that permit scrutiny, contribute to knowledge, and preserve and protect the trust participants place in researchers.

In practice, the principle of Research Merit and Integrity can be broken down into three concepts:

Design and Methodology

The research is designed using appropriate methodologies, well-planned and undertaken by experienced and competent researchers.

Participatory Approaches

Research participants at an individual and community level are actively involved in all stages of the research, including design and planning.

Maintaining Integrity

Researchers must protect and uphold the integrity of the research, including managing bias and responding to any complaints effectively.

Research Merit & Integrity: Self-assessment Checklist

This checklist will help you to identify areas where you may require further work or preparation in your research process in applying the principle of Research Merit & Integrity.

Research Merit & Integrity: Self-assessment Checklist
Research Design
Is the methodology and analysis appropriate to the context and what is being investigated?
Does the research design involve local partners at all stages (participatory approach)?
Is the research well-planned as a project, and integrated into a program of work?
Do researchers have the relevant expertise to conduct the research?
Does the research have approval of and co-operation from a gatekeeper access to the groups or individuals participating in the research (eg community leaders)?
Have researchers received training, information and assistance related to addressing ethical issues?
Is it clear information can or cannot be shared with the gatekeeper if requested?
Analysis and Reporting
Will the information be analysed and presented fairly?
Will the data be collected and secured safely?
Dissemination and use
Is there a plan for how the findings will be disseminated and used? Have you considered who else might bene t from the research?
Will this research be presented in diverse places (e.g. academic or other conferences) and contribute to the body of knowledge on this topic?

You can also download a copy of the Self-assessment Checklist [PDF].

Once you have completed the checklist, refer back to the tools and information provided above, as well as the Principles and Guidelines, to help fill any identified gaps.

You can find further assistance via the Training Module and Further Resources page.