Skip to main content

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

Do no harm: think about the ramifications of the research

This is similar to biomedical research ethics, but the harms and ways harms could be caused is different in social science research. Research done "in the field" can encompass people's whole lives. You have to consider who might read what I publish, and what might they do with the information?

Here's an example of unintended consequences from the publishing of social science research: "In 1962 the US Department of Commerce, without permission from the author, translated from French into English the anthropologist Georges Condominas' ethnographic account of Montagnard village life in the central highlands of Vietnam, Nous Avons Mangé la Forêt. The Green Berets used the document for assassination campaigns targeting village leaders. For years, neither publisher nor author knew this work had been reprinted in English for military ends. In 1972 Condominas described his anger at this abuse of his humanistic work, saying: "How can one accept, without trembling with rage, that this work, in which I wanted to describe in their human plenitude these men who have so much to teach us about life, should be offered to the technicians of death - of their death!... You will understand my indignation when I tell you that I learned about the "pirating" (of my book) only a few years after having proof that Srae, whose marriage I described in Nous Avons Mangé la Forêt, had been tortured by a sergeant of the Special Forces in the camp of Phii Ko." (Condominas 1973:4)