An Audit of Master's Dissertations for Ethical Reporting at a University in Central Tanzania

Angela R. Savage


An audit of ethical issues reported in master’s dissertations of St John’s University of Tanzania (SJUT) in Dodoma was carried out. There was a total population of 252 dissertations from graduates of all four faculties and all of the year groups who graduated between 2012 and 2015. Seven items concerning ethical issues were chosen from the university research guidelines to represent those that should appear in all dissertations. A systematic random sample of 134 dissertations was searched for the seven items. The presence of an item was scored as one mark, and absence as zero. The data was analyzed quantitatively using one-way analysis of variance. There has been a yearly improvement since 2012, although the level of reporting remains suboptimal. There was no statistically significant difference between faculty groups. There were statistically significant differences between reporting of the seven issues, which require targeted attention. The statistically significant differences between year groups suggest that some of the efforts to improve reporting have had an effect. It appears likely that the introduction of the SJUT research committee has made some contribution to the improvement in ethics reporting, and that the recent introduction of the “light touch” approach has not been detrimental.

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