1. Introduction

1.2. Scientific Validity or Rigour

A project is scientifically valid if it has the potential to result in facts, reproducible observations or information in relation to the question under study. The phrase ‘scientific validity’ is used here to refer to the need for sound methodology and protocol design that is likely to lead to reliable conclusions. In qualitative research (i.e. research that looks at observations and descriptions rather than measurements and numbers), instead of scientific validity, research must have scientific rigour. In other words, it must use the appropriate research tools to meet the objectives of the study.

Research involving human participants that lacks scientific validity or rigour is inherently unethical. This is because it exposes participants to risks of harm or inconvenience without foreseeable benefit. This goes against the overarching principle of respect for persons and it is a waste of resources.