Ethically related aspects that may have affected how research was carried out. The British sociological association sets out ethical guidelines for the conduct of research.
- Research participants have the right to refuse to be involved in research. The researcher must tell them about all aspects of the research so they can make a informed decision. Consent should be before research begins and if the research is lengthy, consent should be received at intervals throughout the research.
Confidentiality and privacy:
- Researchers should keep the identity of the participants secret in order to prevent them from getting negative effects of the research. E.g if names are in the results, some invoked may have a bad look on them. Personal information should also be kept confidential.
Harm to participants:
- Researchers need to be aware of the possible side effects that their work has on those they study. E.g police intervention, harm to employment prospects, social exclusion and psychological damage. Wherever possible, researchers should anticipate and prevent such harm. An example of a study where there was psychological abuse is the Milgram study of 40 males ages 20-50 where the researcher was interested in studying how far people would obey to authority even if it involved harming another person. An actor did a quiz and if they got the question, wrong, they would recieve a fake increasing electric shock from the participant. 65% of the participants gave the highest electric shock.
- Special Cade should be taken When researching vulnerable groups (e.g elderly, young, disabled or people with mental health. For example, when studying children in schools, the researchers should gain the consent of the child and parent and explain the research in a language that the child can understand. In addition they should pay attention to child protection.
- This is when the researcher and the research taking place is unknown to the participants. Therefore it is very difficult to gain informed consent while carrying out the research. The researcher deceives and lies to the participant(s) to gain their trust and obtain information. Some sociologists believe this research is justified as it allows research to take place in some hard to reach groups such as gangs, secretive or powerful groups.