THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RESEARCH AND ETHICS

RESEARCH CAN HAVE A POWERFUL IMPACT ON PEOPLE’S LIVES. IT CAN DO SO IN BOTH HARMFUL AND BENEFICIAL WAYS. THEREFORE, RESEARCHERS MUST ALWAYS THINK VERY CAREFULLY ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE RESEARCH AND HOW OUGHT TO BEHAVE, SO THAT NO HARM COMES TO THE SUBJECTS OF THE RESEARCH OR TO SOCIETY IN GENERAL.

MOST SOCIOLOGISTS WOULD ARGUE THAT THERE ARE FIVE AREAS OF ETHICAL CONCERN.

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  • Created by: Tashan
  • Created on: 17-05-09 08:56

CHOICE OF TOPICE

  • THE FIRST ETHICAL ISSUE RELATES TO THE DECISION ABOUT WHAT TO STUDY.
  • MERELY BY CHOOSING AN AREA, THE RESEARCHER MIGHT BE CONFIRMING SOME PEOPLE'S PREJUDICES ABOUT A PARTICULAT ISSUE.

- FOR EXAMPLE

MANY SOCIOLOGISTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE EXTENT OF RESEARCH INTO THE 'NEGATIVE EFFECT OF AFRO-CARIBBEAN LIFE, WITH STUDIES ON SCHOOL FAILURE, LOWER LEVELS OF JOBS SUCCESS AND EVER THE CLAIMED HIGHER RATE OF CRIMINALITY.

CRITICS ARGUE THAT MERELY BY STUDYING THIS, A CONTINUED ASSOCIATION IS MADE BETWEEN RACE AND CRIMINALITY OR RACE AND FAILURE.

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CHOICE OF GROUP TO BE STUDIED

  • ONE OF THE TRICKEST PROBLEMS THAT SOCIOLOGISTS FACE IS GAINING ACCESS TO STUDY PARTICULAR GROUPS.
  • THE MORE POWERFUL THE GROUP THE LESS LIKELY IT IS THAT THE SOCIOLOGISTS WILL MANAGE TO OBTAIN AGREEMENT TO STUDY ITS MEMBERS.
  • GROUPS MOST COMMONLY STUDIED BY SOCIOLOGISTS ARE THE LEAST POWERFUL; SUCH AS STUDENTS, PETTY CRIMINALS, AND LESS SKILLED WORKERS.
  • THE REALLY POWERFUL EVADE THE STUDY.
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EFFECTS ON THE PEOPLE BEING STUDIED

  • RESEARCH CAN QUITE OFTEN HAVE AN EFFECT ON THE PEOPLE BEING STIDIED.
  • BEFORE SETTING OUT TO DO RESEARCH, SOCIOLOGISTS MUST THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT WHAT THESES EFFECTS WILL BE, ALTHOUGH IT IS NOT ALWAYS POSSSIBLE TO ANTICIPATE THEM.
  • ONE OF THE REASONS WHY SOCIOLOGISTS RARELY USE EXPERIMENTS, FOR EXAMPLE, IS THAT THESE MAY LEAD TO THESUBJECTS BEING HARMED BY THE EXPERIMENT.
  • IN PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION STUDIES WHERE THE RESEARCHER ACTUALLY JOINS IN WITH THE GROUP BEING STUDIED, THE RESEARCHER CAN OFTEN BECOME AN IMPORTANT MEMBER OF THE GROUP AND MAY INFLUENCE OTHER MEMBERS TO BEHAVE IN WAYS THEY WOULD NOT NORMALLY.
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EFFECTS ON THE WIDER SOCIETY

  • IT IS NOT ONLY THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BEING STUDIED WHO ARE POTENTIALLY AFFECTED BY THE RESEARCH.
  • THE FAMILIES OF THOSE BEING RESEARCHED MAY HAVE INFORMATION GIVEN ABOUT THEM THAT THEY WISH TO KEEP SECRET.
  • VICTIMS OF CRIME MAY BE UPSET BY THE INFORMATION THAT RESEARCHERS OBTAIN ABOUT THE PERPETRATORS, AS THE PREFER TO FORGET THE INCIDENT.
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ISSUES OF LEGALITY AND IMMORALITY

  • SOCIOLOGISTS MAY BE DRAWN INTO SITUATIONS WHERE THEY MAY COMMIT CRIMES OR POSSIBLY HELP IN OR WITNESS DEVIANT ACTS.
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