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Evidence and Ethics (Editorial)

Keywords: ethics , evidence based practice , ethical frameworks

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Welcome to the December issue of EBLIP, the final issue of my first year as Editor-in-Chief. A year which I have thoroughly enjoyed and one where the fears over what to write in my editorials haven’t materialised. This quarter, ethics has featured quite heavily in my working life so I decided to make this the topic of the editorial, sharing some of my thoughts regarding evidence, ethics and how ethical principles are implemented within the EBLIP journal.Ethics are “principles of conduct or standards of behaviour governing an individual or profession” (Library and Information Science Editorial Committee, 2010), and as individuals or professionals we may be governed by various ethical codes. As I'm sure you know, EBLIP originated in the health domain, where ethical values and ethical research feature strongly. Indeed, by its formal definition, research cannot take place unless “ethical approval” from an appropriate committee has been granted. The practicalities of taking research through the ethical approval process can often be time consuming, and those involved in research need to bear this in mind when planning a project. Each committee will have a slightly different form and process (which can add to the frustration of the researcher), but basically will make their decision to approve on the basis that the research includes obtaining informed consent from participants (i.e., participants know what the research is about and what their involvement will mean); that the research will not cause harm to participants; that confidentiality will be maintained; and that the research undertaken is methodologically rigorous and worthwhile. Preparing a proposal for ethical approval, whilst time consuming, makes the researcher think about all aspects of the research and how it is going to be operationalized, which can save lots of time and effort in the long run and may well also improve the research design. These principles are the same whatever discipline the research takes place in, and should be something that we are aware of as consumers of evidence. Within LIS in the UK, ethical principles have been put to the fore within a new professional framework (CILIP Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, 2012a). The framework outlines the broad range of skills required by workers across the LIS profession, placing these on a wheel with ethics and values in the centre, as they underpin the profession. Placing ethics and values at the core in this way helps us set our knowledge into a wider context and, I believe, is one of the ways that we can mak


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