Ethics of Social Research: Meaning, Unethical Practices and Conclusion

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  • Code of conduct that researcher should adhere to

  • Guides researcher to conduct research in the right way

  • Balances scientific knowledge and privacy rights of respondents like confidentiality, consent, participation or withdrawal rights.

Balances scientific knowledge

Balances Scientific Knowledge

Unethical Practices

According to Diener and Crandall (1978):

  • Whether there is harm to participant : Harm can be physical, mental or emotional or loss of self-esteem, etc. The confidentiality should be respected.

  • Whether there is lack of informed consent : The participants need to be fully informed even after they give consent about the process. Consent forms should be signed and sometimes participants deny being involved as it elevates lots of concerns regarding privacy and confidentiality.

  • Whether there is invasion of privacy : Private realms like income, sexual activity, religious believes- anonymity of all of these should be respected. There could be an example where matters could be published in public domain which should have been remained private especially in cases of tribal people who preserve their customs and traditions.

  • Whether deception is involved: When the work is represented as something else then what it is, it questions the professional self-interest of the researcher.

Other Unethical Ways

  • Scientific misconduct

  • research fraud

  • fake data

  • plagiarism

  • ethical issue with participants

  • legal jeopardy


Why Should A Social Research Be Ethical ?

  • It helps from getting into legal jeopardy. Unethical ways could lead to public humiliation, legal action against the researcher, problems in career and research development can be hindered.

  • Humans are not passive objects and their research cannot be conducted in a laboratory. There are certain rights of participants which should always be respected by the researcher as social science research is conducted within the society and with people therefore, adherence to standards and ethics is a must.


Q1.Which of the following is true about the use of deception in research?

  1. It should never be used

  2. It can be used anytime

  3. If there is deception in a study, the participants may need to be debriefed

  4. The use of deception must be outweighed by other benefits of the study

  5. Both iii and iv

Ans. V

Q2. Which of the following is not an ethical guideline for conducting research with humans?

  1. Getting informed consent of the participant

  2. Telling participants, they must continue until the study has been completed

  3. Keeping participants’ identity anonymous

  4. Telling participants, they are free to withdraw at any time

Ans. II



#Research ethics

#Formulating Research Design

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