Research Project – Ethical Concerns

The principle of voluntary participation requires that people not be coerced into participating in research. This is especially relevant where researchers had previously relied on ‘captive audiences’ for their subjects — prisons, universities, and places like that. Closely related to the notion of voluntary participation is the requirement of informed consent. Essentially, this means that prospective research participants must be fully informed about the procedures and risks involved in research and must give their consent to participate. Ethical standards also require that researchers not put participants in a situation where they might be at risk of harm as a result of their participation. Harm can be defined as both physical and psychological. There are two standards that are applied in order to help protect the privacy of research participants. Almost all research guarantees the participants confidentiality — they are assured that identifying information will not be made available to anyone who is not directly involved in the study. The stricter standard is the principle of anonymitywhich essentially means that the participant will remain anonymous throughout the study — even to the researchers themselves. Clearly, the anonymity standard is a stronger guarantee of privacy, but it is sometimes difficult to accomplish, especially in situations where participants have to be measured at multiple time points (e.g., a pre-post study). Increasingly, researchers have had to deal with the ethical issue of a person’s right to service. Good research practice often requires the use of a no-treatment control group — a group of participants who do not get the treatment or program that is being studied. But when that treatment or program may have beneficial effects, persons assigned to the no-treatment control may feel their rights to equal access to services are being curtailed.

http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/ethics.php

Write a brief essay (200 words) regarding the kinds of ethical concerns that may arise in our project for class.

Remember you will soliciting information from people you might or might not know via a web-based survey instrument . Your questions may involve politically and socially sensitive topics. Do any of these factors present the potential for harm? What would happen if a respondent’s identity was compromised? What are the social benefits from the research? What is the benefit to the participants? Answer these questions in a short essay format (intro, body, conclusion… good grammar, syntax, punctuation, etc.)

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