Is the Use of Deception in Social Science Research on Human Participants Justified?

2767 WordsFeb 25, 201212 Pages
Title: Is the Use of deception in social science research on human participants justified? By Noel Matea, University of Waikato, New Zealand, 2011. Introduction The ethical issue in human subjects’ research continues to receive greater attention within the research ethics literature and the wider academia. A particular ethical issue that continues to draw controversy is the use of deception in social science research involving human subjects. The question of whether deception can be ethically justified is always at the forefront of the deception debate. While some argue that the use of deception, whether intentional or not, carries a considerable potential risk and harm for research subjects, others however, stresses that some…show more content…
Not only that but concealing the true purpose of research from research subjects limit their knowledge needed to make effective judgements to make a decision to consent (Bulmer, 1982; Baumrind, 1985; Clarke, 1999). In the mid 1960s Laud Humphreys carried out a study of male homosexuals in “tearooms” in the United States (Humphreys, 1970). The tearoom is a name given to a public restroom where male homosexuals reputedly use for various deviant encounters. Humphreys carry out the study through various means. He first assumes a participant observation method where he misrepresents his identity and knowledge of his research. He establishes himself within the cycle of his subjects and took up the role of a voyeur or “watchqueen” to lookout for strangers and policemen while his subjects carry out their activities (Humphreys, 1970). He concealed a tape recorder in his car and from time to time make recordings of his observations. He recorded his subjects’ car registration numbers and uses it to track them down to their home addresses. While conducting his study Humphreys was also responsible to carry out a social health survey on a random sample of males in the community where he lives. He interviews some of his subjects by posing as a social health survey officer. To ensure his identity is not recognized he waited for a year before changing his dress code, hairstyle and car and went

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