Exercise 6.2 Name : Social Research Ethics
For each case, (a) identify what you believe to be the one or two ethical issues that are most apparent in the situation, drawing from the ethical issues discussed on Babbie, pp. 63-81, and (b) explain why you think this case represents a minor, moderate, or severe ethical violation.
1. A political science instructor asks students in an introductory class to complete questionnaires that the instructor will analyze and use in preparing a journal article for publication.
The ethical issue with this scenario is that the instructor used deception in order to get the students to complete the questionnaires. The instructor did not tell the students what the questionnaire was going to be for and they didn’t volunteer to answer the questionnaire instead they were told to take it as part of the class.
2. After researchers do a field study of deviant behavior during a riot, law enforcement officials demand that the researchers identify the persons who were observed looting. Rather than risk arrest as accomplices after the fact, the researchers comply and turn over the names.
Research studies are supposed to guarantee be anonymity or at least confidentiality. Although this is what studies guarantee there is no law that protects it. When researchers don’t keep their word it leads participants feeling deceived and lied to.
3. After completing the draft of a book reporting a research project, the author discovers that 25 of the 2,000 survey interviews were falsified by interviewers, but chooses to ignore that fact and publish the book anyway.
Researchers have an ethical obligation to their colleagues and scientific community. In this scenario the researcher has an obligation to make the error known to their readers and should publish the book, but note that twenty five of the survey interviews were falsified by the interviewers because by not doing so would be unethical.