1 Risk undermining the professional roles and
responsibilities of the teachers and their duty of
care to students- for example, by misleading them
by planting false information about pupils' ability.
2 The experimental method involves treating one group different to another.
When dealing with issues of pupil progress, this can create ethical issues over
whether such experiments may have harmful effects on those involved. The
ethics of sociological research should involve informed consent, and there is
the question of whether young children are really able to give consent to
experimental research. Even if such consent can be attained, the very fact of
obtaining such consent may change the behaviour of school pupils, parents or
teachers involved, undermining the validity of any findings. Not obtaining such
consent, or misleading participants into giving it, breaches ethical guidelines.
3 The Hawthorne effect may arise through the very
presence of researchers in an educational setting.
The researchers may be seen as a threat by teachers
or pupils, which may alter their normal behaviour.
4 Experiments in education research in in varying degrees
of artificial situations, so the findings of a classroom
experiment, for example, may not reflect situations,
experiences or behaviour in everyday schooling.
5 Experimental situations generally involve testing a hypothesis by
attempting to isolate one or two variables. However, education
issues involve a complex range of factors, and the experiment
risks over simplifying causes and thereby undermining the validity
of research. Teacher expectation, for example, is only one factor
among many others affecting student progress.