Ethical Policy

1.     Plagiarism:

It is common knowledge that there is nothing new under the sun and knowledge is built from those who have gone ahead. The student who reads and gathers information can build upon it and come up with some new conclusions or personal ideas. The student, however, must distinguish between the ideas borrowed from other people and his/her conclusions. Citing the sources where the ideas were taken from brings out such distinctions. Moreover, providing appropriate citations in the right way also matters.

A researcher who uses another author’s work, research, idea, phrase, or sentence without proper acknowledgement or attribution, deliberate or not, amounts to plagiarism. Being ignorant that another author has used that sentence earlier is no excuse. Sometimes, students lift portions of another person’s sentence and add some other words and use them as their own, but this is also plagiarism. Paraphrasing someone’s sentence and failing to acknowledge it amounts to near-complete plagiarism. It is unacceptable to present someone’s thoughts as one’s own. Self-plagiarism is where a student uses his/her paper, essay, or work submitted for another purpose in a research work to the Seminary for a degree without duly acknowledging the source. The researcher is responsible for checking plagiarism to enhance the quality of the work.

Plagiarism is a serious offence and is considered as intellectual theft. In this respect, plagiarism is strictly prohibited. Any student who plagiarizes will be subject to disciplinary action. This may result in the candidate failing the course or dismissal from the Seminary.


2.     A primary objective in engaging research participants must be the conduct of research openly and without deception.


3.     Research Guidelines –

a.     There are some basic principles of ethical considerations that are expected to be adhered to, to ensure that participants helping in a research project are not put in harms way or are protected.

                        i.         It is the responsibility of the researcher to decide what ethical issues may arise in the relationship between the researcher and human participants within the research.

                      ii.         Research proposals involving human participants and personal data will usually require certain principles and guidelines set out between the researcher and participants. Each party must sign a document stating all the principles and guidelines.

                     iii.         The researcher is expected to comply with all relevant requirements from the participants and the standards of the Seminary.

                     iv.         In all cases of research, researchers should inform participants of what is expected and their right to refuse to participate or withdraw from the investigation whenever and for whatever reason they wish.

                       v.         Research participants should take part voluntarily, free from any coercion or undue influence, and their rights, dignity and (when possible) autonomy should be respected and appropriately protected.

                     vi.         Researchers should aim to maximize the benefit of the research and minimize the potential risk of harm to participants and researchers. All potential risk and harm should be mitigated by robust precautions.

                   vii.         Research participants should be given appropriate information about the purpose, methods and intended uses of the research, what their participation in the research entails, and what risks and benefits, if any, are involved.

                  viii.         The participant’s preferences regarding anonymity should be respected and the participant’s requirements concerning the confidential nature of information and personal data should be respected.

                     ix.         The independence of the research should be clear, and any conflicts of interest or partiality should be explicit.

                       x.         The onus is on the researcher to ensure that the person whose consent is being sought has accepted to collaborate and has been supported in developing an adequate understanding of the research.

                     xi.         Informed consent entails giving sufficient information about the research so that prospective participants can make an informed and free decision on their possible involvement.

                   xii.         Participants have the right to withdraw consent as well as the right not to answer a particular question.

                  xiii.         Where participants are in a potentially vulnerable or dependent position (e.g. Children) it is important to ensure there is a trusted adult available to support the participants.

                  xiv.         The information being sought should not bring potential harm whether physical, psychological or social.

                    xv.         Confidentiality implies that the data shared does not include identifiable information on participants and should not be disclosed to others without the explicit consent of the Participants.

                  xvi.         All data should be collected with the consent of the participants and the researcher should also explain who will have access to the data and why.

                xvii.         Where a participant prefers anonymity, that individual participant should not be identifiable in research documentation, unless agreed to by the participant.

               xviii.         Appropriate security measures must be taken in all research work and the degree of security depends on the level of sensitivity and the harm that might result from an unauthorized disclosure.

                  xix.         The transcripts of the interviews must be stored in the Seminary if necessary or the interview transcript data must be destroyed once the research is completed and assessed.

                    xx.         All secondary quantitative data will be the property of the Seminary

                  xxi.         A research may involve examining issues that could be sensitive to both individual participants and Church management. It may be that the reasons given by people who have left the organisation, or who are thinking of leaving, can be potentially emotive to the individual concerned and may well be of concern to authorities. The analysis of such interviews must be treated sensitively and in a highly confidential manner.

                xxii.         All interviews with staff of the Seminary must be handled carefully and sensitively. Reassurances must be given that responses will not be reported in such a way that could cause individuals to suffer any harm. This is also important for eliciting honest, open answers from research participants.


b.     The researcher must affirm to be cautious about:

                                 i.         Potentially vulnerable people, for example children and young people, those with a learning disability or cognitive impairment, or potentially vulnerable individuals in a dependent or unequal relationship.

                               ii.         Accessing records of personnel or sensitive confidential information, including biological information, concerning identifiable individuals.

                              iii.         Intrusive interventions or collection methods, for example stealing of information, vigorous techniques of accessing information, and information that would or might induce psychological stress, anxiety or humiliation, or cause more that minimal distress.

                              iv.         Liking or sharing of personal data or confidential information beyond the initial consent given.