Research & Professional Ethics
• Understand the ethical considerations for social science research.
• Understand the elements that must be included in an informed consent form.
• Understand the key professional ethical considerations in each step of a
Can Political Science Research Really be Threatening to Participants?
• When research intrudes into the private sphere or delves into some deeply
• When the study is concerned with deviance and social control (policy issues
that would affect female offenders, sexual behavior, etc)
• When it impinges on the exercise of coercion or domination (white
researcher doing research with First Nations People)
Risk to the Researcher
• Physical safety of the research team
• Legal action
• Stigma associated with unpopular topics.
Three Ethics Pillars to Protect Participants
• Informed Consent
• Right to Withdraw
Confidentiality & Anonymity
• Confidentiality - means that information may have names attached to it, but
the researcher holds it in confidence or keeps it secret.
• Anonymity - means that subjects remain anonymous or nameless.
• What about elite interviews-to name or not to name???
• Name/position they hold gives weight to findings (Minister). Consent
must be given to use their name.
Elements that Must be in an Informed Consent Form
• Nature of the Research
• What activities the participants would be involved with (answer questions)
& time duration
• Identity of the Researchers & provide contact information
• Any risks to which participants might be exposed
• Be advised that participation is voluntary
• Participants can withdraw at any point in the research
• The guarantee that all responses will remain confidential & anonymous.
• An individual or office that participants can contact, should they have
questions or concerns about the study • An offer to provide detailed information about the study (The potential use
of the research findings) and/or where the findings can be found upon
completion of the study -usually a web site.
• A place for the participant to sign and date the letter indicating agreement to
Informed Consent – Verbal
• Everything that needs to be pr