Ethics in Social Science Research
Through this subject, the student will know ow to analyze the data, and translating research findings into academic writing. However in order to have a good research paper, we should not Just focus on the elements above. The characteristics of a good research paper in social science are defined as characteristics based on scientific principles and also ethics. The scientific characteristics are an explanation, prediction, pattern, repetition, replication and quantification. In addition, general characteristics such as objectivity, legality is also important for research.
All good research paper must have adhere values or code of thics. The ethics is very important in social science research. But before we move on to the importance of ethics in social science research, it is much better if we can understand what a research is actually, what the ethics is and what means by ethics in research. Then, we will see why ethics is important in research.
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Oxford Compact English Dictionary defines research as “the systematic investigation into and study of materials, and sources, in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions”. ODEC, 1996). While Graziano and Raulin (1996) define research more imply as a systematic search for information as well as a research process. Brew (2001) even has listed several definitions to be in accordance with the purpose of research itself. First, research is a search for something and disseminating to the public. Second, research complements the way the production, testing and validation ot knowledge. Third, it is a systematic process ot research, general interest that contributed to the collection of knowledge which form and providing the academic and practical.
Fourth, research is an extension of knowledge and understanding. Besides, research also known as a voyage of discovery or a Journey or ovement from the known to unknown; an attitude; and experience; a method of critical thinking; a careful critical enquiry in seeking facts for principles. It is also considered as the art of scientific investigation. A research is scientific and systematic search for pertinent information on a specific topic. It is also a process of arriving at dependable solutions to problems through the planned and systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of data.
There are many terms of research such as, research technique, research method and research methodology. Research technique is a behavior and instruments used in research operations. While research method is behavior and instruments used in selecting and constructing technique or a range of approaches used to gather data. Research methodology is a science of studying how research is done scientifically.Ethics are something that cannot be separated from human’s life.
The most common way of defining “ethics” is norms for conduct that distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. While most people think ethics or morals as the rules for distinguishing between right and wrong, such as the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”), a code of professional conduct like the Hippocratic Oath (“First of all, do no harm”), a religious creed like the Ten Commandments (“Thou Shalt not kill… “), or a wise aphorisms like the sayings of Confucius. Another way of defining ‘ethics’ focuses on the disciplines that study standards of conduct, such as philosophy, theology, law, psychology, or sociology. For example, a “medical ethicist” is someone who studies ethical standards in medicine. One may also define ethics as a method, procedure, or perspective for deciding how to act and for analyzing complex problems and issues. For instance, in considering a complex issue like global warming, one may take an economic, cological, political, or ethical perspective on the problem.
While an economist might examine the cost and benefits of various policies related to global warming, an environmental ethicist could examine the ethical values and principles at stake. All research must ensure that the methods, content and purpose of the research do not violate the code of ethics, norms and universal values such as religion. If a study fulfills all of the features and scientific but less ethical principles of research, of course it is considered as less good research paper. For xample, a research or attempts to manipulate people ‘play god’ as the human clone.
Ethical aspect of a research has been highlighted and the understanding of ethics in research also nas changed From the time immediately atter World War II until t early 1990s, there was a gradually developing consensus about the key ethical principles that should underlie the research endeavor. Among others, there are two marker events stand out 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 1950s and 1960s, 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. 3 By the 1990s, the dynamics of the situation changed. Many scientists began taking into consideration the ethics of their research.
This pattern also happens to the society. Cancer patients nd 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). This pattern shows that scientist realised that ethics is an important aspect of doing a research. But what the purpose are and why is ethics important in social science research? There are several reasons why it is important to adhere to ethical norms in research. First, ethics promote the aims of research such as knowledge, truth, and avoidance of error. For example, prohibitions against fabricating, falsifying, or misrepresenting research data promote the truth and avoid error. For example, the following case: The research protocol for a study of a drug on hypertension requires the administration of the drug at different doses to 50 laboratory mice, with chemical nd behavioural tests to determine toxic effects. Tom has almost finished the experiment for Dr. Q. He has only 5 mice left to test. However, he really wants to finish his work in time to go to Florida on spring break with his friends, who are leaving tonight. He has injected the drug in all 50 mice but has not completed all of the tests. He therefore decides to extrapolate from the 45 completed results to produce the 5 additional results.
Many different research ethics policies would hold that Tom has acted unethically by fabricating data. If this study were sponsored by a federal agency, such as the NIH, is actions would constitute a form of research misconduct, which the government defines as “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism” (or FFP). Actions that nearly all researchers classify as unethical are viewed as misconduct. It is important to remember, however, that misconduct occurs only when researchers intend to deceive: honest errors related to sloppiness, poor record keeping, miscalculations, bias, selt-deception, and even negligence do not constitute misconduct.
Also, reasonable disagreements about research methods, procedures, and interpretations do not constitute research misconduct. Second, since research often involves a great deal of cooperation and coordination among many different people in different disciplines and institutions, ethical standards promote the values that are essential to collaborative work, such as trust, accountability, mutual respect, and fairness. For example, many ethical norms in research, such as guidelines for authorship, copyright and patenting policies are designed to protect intellectual property interests while encouraging collaboration.
Most researchers want to receive credit for their contributions and do not want to have their ideas stolen or disclosed prematurely. Third, many of the ethical norms help to ensure that researchers can be held accountable and useful to the public. For instance, federal policies on research misconduct, conflicts of interest, the human subject’s protections, and animal care and use are necessary in order to make sure that researchers who are funded by public money can be held accountable to the public. 8 For example, the following case: Dr.
T has Just discovered a mathematical error in a paper that has been accepted for publication in a Journal. The error does not affect the overall results of his research, but it is potentially misleading. The Journal has Just gone to press, so it is too late to catch the error before it appears in print. In order to avoid embarrassment, Dr. T decides to ignore the error. Dr. T’s error is not misconduct nor is his decision to take no action to correct the error. Most researchers, as well as many different policies and codes, including ECU’s policies, would say that Dr.
T should tell the Journal about the error and consider publishing a correction or errata. Failing to publish a correction would be unethical because it would violate norms relating to honesty and objectivity in research. In fact, the information may be used by the public and it will have an adverse effect because they receive incorrect information. Fourth, ethical norms in research also help to build public support for research. People more likely to fund research project if they can trust the quality and integrity of research.
Finally, many of the ethics of research promote a variety of other important moral and social values, such as social responsibility, human rights, animal welfare, compliance with the law, and health and safety. Ethical lapses in research can significantly harm human and animal subjects, students, and the ublic. For example, a researcher who fabricates data in a clinical trial may harm or even kill patients and a researcher who fails to abide by regulations and guidelines relating to radiation or biological safety may Jeopardize his health and safety or the health and safety of staff and students. 0 Besides, wherever possible, the investigation should inform all participants of the objectives of the investigation. No pressure should be exerted on people either to take part or to remain in an investigation. A fair explanation of the procedures to be followed and their purposes hould be given, as well as a description of the attendant discomforts, risks or benefits reasonably to be exerted, if any. ll In addition, ethics is also important to ensure that nobody will get harm.
Clearly, there is a risk of harm involved for participants who take part in many kinds of research, not Just biomedical or health research but also in social science research. Harms resulting from participating in research may be physical, social, psychological, emotional, financial or legal. Physical harms might include side ettects trom being given a drug tor which li ttle intormation is known or being given a well-known drug for a new use. Most physical harms arise in biomedical research but there may be experimentation in social sciences that involve risk of physical harm.
Social harms may include having something about a participant, as a result, being embarrassed or marginalized by the exposure of these views, opinions or attributes. Psychological or emotional harms may result from being deceived in research or from being asked to recall or recount traumatic or difficult experiences without adequate preparation or counsel. Financial harms may come from having participants’ employment security placed in Jeopardy because of participation in a research study. Legal harms may result from the exploration or exposure of participants’ involvement in illegal practices. 2 Many research projects in the social science and humanities are what we would classify as being minimal risk of harm. That does not mean, however, that we should then not attend to risk of potential harms that do exist. As always, risk of harm should be considered in a contextual manner. Moreover, risk of harm must be considered against the potential for benefit to individuals and society in all types of research. Finally, noting that risk of harm will always be present and to some degree, uncertain, the burden rests with he researcher, alongside REBs, to put strategies in place to mitigate potential harms and minimize risks.