Chapter 3

Research ethics

Chapter 3 of Performing Music Research explores the guiding principles which ethical codes are based. These can summarized as follows: people should not be harmed, nor their rights and dignity compromised, and research must be of scientific value and carried out with integrity. These issues must considered and addressed in earliest stages of research and in light the potential benefits of findings the research to society. The chapter reflects on philosophical underpinnings of ethical research and outlines the process whereby ethical approval is typically sought and obtained, with reference to selection codes of research ethics published by professional associations and regulatory bodies that guide and inform research activity.

Research spotlight

Box 3.2
Performing the poker face

Research investigating how stage behaviour and facial expressions affect judgements of performance quality.

Read the full report:

Waddell G & Williamon A (2017), Eye of the beholder: stage entrance behavior and facial expression affect continuous quality ratings in music performance, Frontiers in Psychology, 8 (513), 1-14 [DOI].

Film produced by: Tantrwm Digital Media


3.1 Participant information sheet (.docx) (.pdf)
3.2 Consent form (.docx) (.pdf)


These questions test your knowledge of the content of Chapter 3.

In Stanley Milgram’s experiments on obedience, participants administered electric shocks to other people.

When did the US government apologize for funding a study testing the effects of penicillin on prisoners in Guatemala who were deliberately infected with syphilis?

Internet-mediated research has no ethical implications.

What does deontology, one of the major theories underlying the guiding principles of today’s codes of ethical research, refer to?

Which of these categories are not typically considered vulnerable populations?

There are circumstances in which it is acceptable for participants not to give fully informed consent.

Which philosophical theory advocates maximizing happiness and individual welfare, and underpins modern research ethics?

All researchers should apply for approval from a research ethics committee when conducting any research involving people as participants.

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