Journal of Academic Ethics

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 205–220

Students as Research Participants or as Learners?


DOI: 10.1007/s10805-006-9028-y

Cite this article as:
Shi, L. J Acad Ethics (2006) 4: 205. doi:10.1007/s10805-006-9028-y


This paper reports an instructor and her students’ experiences with ethics in conducting action research in a university teacher-training class. The nature of educational action research suggests the dual roles of the instructor and students, the former as both a researcher and a practitioner, and the latter as both research participants and learners. However, in following an ethics procedure to allow students to opt out of the research project anonymously but, at the same time, not to deny their access to learning opportunities, both the instructor and students experienced tensions as they tried to separate and switch roles for research and teaching/learning. Instead of benefiting from the research to explore and reflect on learning, many students complained about their sense of being used as research participants. The article suggests new ethics review procedures to support and help action research to generate valuable results in teaching and learning.

Key words

action research anonymous participation dual roles of the investigator ethics review informed consent 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Language and Literacy EducationUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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