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.