CHAPTER 3 THE ETHICS AND POLITICS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH. CONSTRAITS ON RESEARCH 1. 2. 3. 4. SCIENTIFIC ADMINISTRATIVE ETHICAL POLITICAL ETHICAL CONSIDERATION What does ethics deal with? - A study that requires small children to be tortured, is that ethical? What is “moral”- is based on social agreement among members in a group/nation/country etc 1. Voluntary Participation: Research, often enough, requires intrusion into people’s personal lives, questions about personal information. Participation should therefore be voluntary, no one should be forced to participate. Voluntary Participation makes scientific research difficult- how? Affects the kind of sample you get, and thus the ability to generalize to everyone in the population The “norm” of voluntary participation must be observed, when not observed it is important you observe other norms like no harm to subjects etc. 2. No harm to participants: Information gathered about participants might harm their work life, family life or relationships, and their personal psychological well being therefore make sure that there is no harm coming to participants from your research. Informed Consent: Subjects must base their voluntary participation on a full understanding of the risks involved. i.e. they are required to sign a statement that they understand the risks involved but want to participate anyway. Based on their responses to the questions answered, certain participants might be smart enough to locate themselves in the tables and figures of the published study which might threaten their self image How does modern research guard against this: Human subject committees in universities Funding agencies require independent evaluation of the effects of research on human subjects. 3. Anonymity and Confidentiality A. Anonymity: When the researcher as well as the people who read the research cannot identify a given response with a given respondent Can an interview survey be anonymous? IS a mail survey anonymous? Does anonymity ensure accuracy of response? How so? B. Confidentiality: A researcher can identify a given respondents responses but promises not to identify him or her publicly. The responsibility here lies on whom? The researcher or the researched? Courts have not recognized social research to be privileged communication. Exxon oil spill, survey- Exxon subpoenaed survey questionnaire Remove identifiers from questionnaires as soon as possible keeping a separate file/coding to associate names with responses for research purposes only 4. no deception: -Revealing yourself to the researched -Scientific problems with such identification? How can the data be inaccurate? Asch experiment, Stanley Milgram Experiment -There must be compelling reasons if you do not identify yourself to the respondents. If you have to deceive the researched, they must be debriefed at the end. 5. Analysis and Reporting: researchers have to honestly report technical difficulties, limitations and failures of the study and not conceal these to make it look better. Negative findings as well as chance findings should be reported Institutional Review Boards required at universities that get Federal grants in USA. ETHICAL CONTROVERSY Stanley Milgram experiment: How likely are people to inflict harm on others following orders? Teacher, pupil, wrong answer shocked… POLITICS OF RESEARCH Ethical considerations deal with the “how” to conduct research part. Politics of research deals with the USE of research and thus the substance of the research findings. What can be some political considerations of the Milgram experiment? No specific rules on the political aspects of research except 1. No harm to the subject 2. Researchers political orientation should not cloud his or her researchthe idea of objectivity, intersubjectivity. Value-Free Research From Max Weber’s lecture- Science as a Vocation (1925) “Disenchantment of the world” Personal values should not affect the conduct of your research. Value-Free is itself a “Value” that sometimes supports the status quo. Cannot easily separate social science and social action. Project Camelot: US government Project Camelot 1. Devise ways to assess the potential for internal war 2. Identify the steps the government might take to relieve conditions that give rise to internal conflict. Purpose: to strengthen established non democratic regimes and thwart popular reformist and revolutionary movements in the developing world.