We are going through a time of profound change in our understanding of the ethics of applied social research. From the time immediately after World War II until the early s, there was a gradually developing consensus about the key ethical principles that should underlie the research endeavor. Two marker events stand out among many others as symbolic of this consensus. The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial following World War II brought to public view the ways German scientists had used captive human subjects as subjects in oftentimes gruesome experiments.
In the s and s, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study involved the withholding of known effective treatment for syphilis from African-American participants who were infected. Events like these forced the reexamination of ethical standards and the gradual development of a consensus that potential human subjects needed to be protected from being used as 'guinea pigs' in scientific research.
By the s, the dynamics of the situation changed. Cancer patients and persons with AIDS fought publicly with the medical research establishment about the long time needed to get approval for and complete research into potential cures for fatal diseases. In many cases, it is the ethical assumptions of the previous thirty years that drive this 'go-slow' mentality. After all, we would rather risk denying treatment for a while until we achieve enough confidence in a treatment, rather than run the risk of harming innocent people as in the Nuremberg and Tuskegee events.
But now, those who were threatened with fatal illness were saying to the research establishment that they wanted to be test subjects, even under experimental conditions of considerable risk. You had several very vocal and articulate patient groups who wanted to be experimented on coming up against an ethical review system that was designed to protect them from being experimented on. Although the last few years in the ethics of research have been tumultuous ones, it is beginning to appear that a new consensus is evolving that involves the stakeholder groups most affected by a problem participating more actively in the formulation of guidelines for research.
While it's not entirely clear, at present, what the new consensus will be, it is almost certain that it will not fall at either extreme: There are a number of key phrases that describe the system of ethical protections that the contemporary social and medical research establishment have created to try to protect better the rights of their research participants.
The principle of voluntary participation requires that people not be coerced into participating in research. Researchers must also adhere to ethical standards in order for the public to support and believe in the research. The public wants to be assured that researchers followed the appropriate guidelines for issues such as human rights, animal welfare, compliance with the law, conflicts of interest, safety, health standards and so on.
The handling of these ethical issues greatly impact the integrity of the research project and can affect whether or not the project receives funding. Because ethical considerations are so important in research, many professional associations and agencies have adopted codes and policies that outline ethical behavior and guide researchers.
These codes address issues such as honesty, objectivity, respect for intellectual property, social responsibility, confidentiality, non-discrimination and many others. These codes and policies provide basic guidelines, but researchers will still be faced with additional issues that are not specifically addressed and this will require decision-making on the part of the researcher in order to avoid misconduct. The resources on this page address many of those issues and the case studies used in these resources provide excellent examples of these types of issues.
One of the most important ethical considerations in research is the use of human subjects. To address these considerations, most institutions and organizations have developed an Institutional Review Board IRB. An IRB is a panel of people who help to ensure the safety of human subjects in research and who assist in making sure that human rights are not violated. They review the research methodology in grant proposals to assure that ethical practices are being utilized. The use of an IRB also helps to protect the institution and the researchers against potential legal implications from any behavior that may be deemed unethical.
Examples of some of these issues include voluntary participation and informed consent. These principles are followed to guarantee that all human subjects are choosing to participate of their own free will and that they have been fully informed regarding the procedures of the research project and any potential risks. Ethical standards also protect the confidentiality and anonymity of the subjects. Review the following slideshow to begin understanding the key ethical considerations for researchers and the history of ethical issues in research.
This slideshow is a comprehensive discussion of ethical issues that researchers may face and provides definitions of key terminology for new researchers. This slideshow includes the use of case studies to illustrate many of these considerations.
The following video discusses all types of ethical considerations in research including use of human subjects, consent, plagiarism, guiding principles, and so forth. The following website discusses common codes and policies regarding ethics in research. Ethics in Research - The Web Center for Social Research Methods - Some of the key terminology associated with research ethics are described on this site, as well as a brief history of ethical considerations in research.
Ethics in Research and Publication - This website is a comprehensive set of resources that are helpful in learning examining and learning about ethical issues in research. The site contains webcasts, PDFs, examples, links to other sites and numerous other resources.
It covers a broad range of topics including plagiarism, conflict of interest, scientific misconduct, and many other topics relating to research ethics. Ethics in Research - There are many ethical considerations when conducting research.
This presentation defines and describes various types of ethical misconduct and gives examples. What is an IRB and its Purpose? What is the purpose of an IRB and how does a researcher know when they need to use it? Ethics Video Series - This series of eight YouTube videos looks at all types of ethical considerations relating to research and publishing. This pin will expire , on Change.
Because ethical considerations are so important in research, many professional associations and agencies have adopted codes and policies that outline ethical behavior and guide researchers. These codes address issues such as honesty, objectivity, respect for intellectual property, social responsibility, confidentiality, non-discrimination and many others.
We are going through a time of profound change in our understanding of the ethics of applied social research. From the time immediately after World War II until the early s, there was a gradually developing consensus about the key ethical principles that should underlie the research endeavor.
Ethical discussions usually remain detached or marginalized from discussions of research projects. In fact, some researchers consider this aspect of research as an afterthought. Yet, the moral integrity of the researcher is a critically important aspect of ensuring that the research process and a researcher’s findings are trust - worthy and valid. This assignment will then culminate with a critical analysis of why ethical considerations are important when conducting social research. Ethics is defined as the values and morals upheld during interaction with others during the collection of data and the dissemination of findings (Merriam, ).
Ethical Considerations can be specified as one of the most important parts of the research. Dissertations may even be doomed to failure if this part is missing. According to Bryman and Bell () the following ten points represent the most important principles related to ethical considerations. What is Ethics in Research & Why is it Important? What is Ethics in Research & Why is it Important? Databases; Electron Paramagnetic Resonance/Electron Spin Resonance (EPR/ESR) Most people learn ethical norms at home, at school, in church, or in other social settings. Although most people acquire their sense of right and wrong during.