Ethics and the Evaluation of Transport Policies and Projects
Chapter 7: The Ethics of Doing Transport Research
7.1 INTRODUCTION Questions related to the ethics of doing research include: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● What do codes of conduct tell us about the ethics of doing research? How independent should a researcher be? How impartial should a researcher be? What to do if the client’s interest strongly conflicts with those of the wider society? To what extent should research be verifiable? Where does political responsibility end, and lying or manipulation start? Should a researcher disseminate non-confidential research if the findings are relevant for society, but the client does not appreciate this? Should ethical standards for universities differ from those for consultancies? What is the quality of cost estimates and demand forecasts for large infrastructure projects? Which options are available to reduce the immoral behaviour, that results in poor quality cost estimates and demand forecasts? Doing research in general can easily result in ethical dilemmas. What to do with the client’s wishes if accepting them would result in less objective research? How ‘good’ should research be, to be able to draw conclusions? How to trade-off clear communication of findings and scientific nuances? Transport research is no exception to this rule. This chapter discusses the ethical aspects of doing research in transport. The ambition is to make transport researchers, especially those doing research in the area of ex ante evaluations of transport projects and policies, aware of the ethical dimensions of their research. Although researchers in other areas can also benefit from this chapter, the ambition is not to cover all areas of research. Because...
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