Ethics in Social Research - Ethical issues involving research participants

8 important questions on Ethics in Social Research - Ethical issues involving research participants

Which prohibitions does the law and codes of ethics recognize?

Never cause unnecessary or irreversible harm to research participants; secure prior voluntary consent when possible; and never unnecessarily humiliate, degrade, or release harmful information about specific individuals that was collected for research purposes.

When did the concern over the treatment of research participants arise?

After the revelation of gross violations of basic human rights in the name of science.

What is another type of harm for research participants?

Negative impact on the careers, reputations or incomes.

How can we obtain prior informed consent and still use deception?

We can describe the basic procedures involved and conceal only specific information about hypotheses being tested.

What is the long term negative effect of deception?

It increases distrust among people who are frequently studied and makes doing social research more difficult in the long term.

What is the general rule for informed consent?

The higher the risk of potential harm to the researcher participants, the greater the need to obtain a written informed consent statement from them.

Which two minimal conditions make it ethical to involve incompetent people in research?

A legal guardian grants written permission and we follow all standard ethical principles to protect participants from harm.

In which three ways can we reduce creating new inequalities?

  • The people who do not receive the ''new, improved'' treatment continue to receive the best previously acceptable treatment.
  • Crossover design; when a study group that gets no treatment in the first phase of the experiment becomes the group with the treatment in the second phase and vice versa.
  • We contiuously monitor results. If it appears early in the study that the new treatment is highly effective, we should offer it to those in the control group.

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