Ethical Issues in Social Research

1348 Words Jan 27th, 2012 6 Pages
Ethics is a part of every society and is entwined in every aspect of daily living, however the meaning of ethics or what is ethical differs. Ethics is commonly associated with morality and Webster’s New world Dictionary defines ethical as “conforming to the standards of conduct of a given profession or group.” Knowing what a particular society considers ethical and unethical is what contributes to living successfully in that society. This is the same for researchers; researchers need to be aware of what is considered ethical and unethical conduct of scientific inquiry. From the time immediately after World War II until the early 1990s, there was a gradually developing consensus about the key ethical principles that should underlie the …show more content…
Social research obtains personal information about people, information that might not be known by the people closest to them. The information obtained can then be revealed to other people such as lawyers and doctors and in the case of lawyers this information can then be revealed to their clients; therefore social researchers like to believe that the research will help all humanity. Popular topics of social research include poverty, racism, class issues, sexuality, voting behavior, gender constructs, policing and criminal behavior. Research can be conducted using surveys, reports, observation, questionnaires, focus groups, historical accounts, personal diaries and census statistics. There are two types of research: qualitative research and quantitative research. Qualitative research is inductive, meaning the researcher creates hypotheses and abstractions from collected data. Most data is collected via words or pictures and mostly from people. Researchers are interested in how people make sense of their lives and in the research process itself. Quantitative research is the complete opposite and most often involves numbers and set data. Quantitative data is efficient but focuses only on the end result, not the process itself, as qualitative research does. Quantitative data is precise and is often the result of surveys or questionnaires.
Voluntary participation is a major principle of research

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