Ethical Implications in Sociological Field Research

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Ethical Implications in Sociological Field Research

Ethics, derived from the Latin “ethos” meaning truth, is simply a set of moral principles one uses to guide his or her life decisions and actions. Sociologists follow guidelines set forth by the American Sociological Association or ASA to safely, respectfully, and accurately conduct sociological research. This assignment poses two hypothetical situations; the first dealing with college alcohol consumption, the second involving a research questionnaire amongst a university registration document. This paper examines and provides references regarding the ethical implications of researchers in the field and their findings.

Is it ethical for the researcher to keep quiet on violation of alcohol consumption rules even if will cause a furor on campus? Absolutely not. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has studied college-drinking issues and found them to be detrimental to the physical, mental, and academic lives of students. “1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes, “Between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use”, and “About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall”(1). The effects of alcohol are dangerous and can endanger not only your academic career, but also your life and the lives of people around you.

If the researcher in question was a member of the ASA he would be professionally bound by both the Preamble “It has as its primary goal the welfare and protection of the individuals and groups with whom sociologists work” and Appendix E: Social Responsibility “Sociologists are aware of their professional and scientific responsibility to the...
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