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Table of Contents

  1. Key questions
  2. Example of harm from social science research -
  3. Research merit and integrity
  4. Justice
  5. Special protections for vulnerable communities
  6. Ethics Controversies: Case Studies - Debates about the ethics of the Tearoom Trade Study Methodology
  7. Case 2: The Human Terrain System
  8. Informed consent
  9. Freedom from coercion
  10. Case 3: Gang Leader for a day
  11. When social scientists uncover crime through their research
    1. Confidentiality for research participants when crime occurs
  12. Other ethical problems in Venkatesh's research
  13. Responsibilities to people/cultures being studied
    1. Informed Consent
    2. Informed consent scenario
    3. Best practice:
    4. Protecting identities of participants
    5. Case Study
    6. Protecting identities of participants: scenario
  14. Do no harm: think about the ramifications of the research
  15. Reciprocity: paying people for their contributions
    1. Reciprocity and collaboration with the community you work with
  16. Intimacy in research: maintaining informed consent over time
    1. Case Study:
    2. Intimacy in ethnographic research: sex and the field
  17. Respect for persons:
  18. Protection from psychological or physical harm
  19. Intellectual property
  20. Summary of Principles of Ethical Research
  21. Council for International Organization of Medical Sciences (CIOMS)
  22. Death of Jesse Gelsinger (1999) Conflicts of Interest Example
  23. Respect for Persons
  24. Informed Consent
    1. Voluntariness
    2. Comprehension
    3. Disclosure
  25. Case Study: Study on Campus
  26. Informed Consent
    1. Consent Document 1
    2. Consent Document 2
  27. Requirements for documentation of informed consent
  28. Decisional Capacity
  29. Children's Participation in Research
    1. Lack of assent from a child
  30. Research with prisoners
  31. Community Consultation
  32. Beneficence
  33. Justice
  34. Compensation for Research Participation
    1. Avoiding undue inducement
    2. Case Study involving confidentiality of clinical data
  35. Confidentiality

Confidentiality for research participants when crime occurs

The fact that there was no law to protect social scientist researchers meant that if the police were investigating a crime the research notes could be taken subject to a court order, or Venkatesh would face jail himself if he failed to hand them over.

Reporting illegal activity is on a continuum. At one end is a situation where you would have a moral and legal obligation to report the activity, generally if there is a serious and imminent risk of harm to either the individual concerned or others (planning a drive-by shooting would certainly fall into this category). At the other end is crime with no external victim e.g. information about personal drug use, here the responsibility is to keep this information confidential. If you are investigating information about illegal behaviour as part of your research the advice would be to ensure anonymity of participants in your research notes. It would not usually be expected that these participants would sign informed consent forms.