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Lecture 3

SOC221H5 Lecture 3: SOC 221- LEC3


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC221H5
Professor
Jayne Baker
Lecture
3

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SOC 221
Slide: The Ethics of Social Science Research
its something that researchers have to consider before they even do any kind
of research
also interesting because when it comes to ethics and research there’s a lot of
controversy around unethical research in the past
Slide:
Learning Outcomes:
Explain the role of ethics reviews in research
why its important to have your research review by an ethical
board
Apply the research cycle
nowhere in the research cycle does it say receive ethical
approval, but its part of designing a study, before you could
do any data collection
it can take a lot of time
have to think about a lot of details in your study
Framing Questions:
What does it mean to be ethical as a researcher?
what behaviours and approaches does it include, exclude?
How do we protect the people involved in research?
what steps do we have to take to protect the people
involved in our research?
what are we protecting them from
does protecting our participants limit our ability to do research in
any way?
Slide: Stanley Milgram & Obedience to Authority
vid From BBC’s The Heist
recreation of stanley milgram- showed that how normal people could
commit atrocious acts simply because they’re accepting orders
Ethical controversy
The use of deception
research involved the use of deception- where the participants
were told only so much about the research methodology-
they were told it was an education etc, and only once the
research ended were they told that it was an experiment
about obedience to the person in the white lab coat
using deception in research is really frowned upon
Emotional stress experienced by research participants

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Other ethical controversies
Humphreys: Tea-Room Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places
he analyzed homosexual acts that took place in public
washrooms
these public washrooms were called tearooms
he analyzed same sex sexual acts happening within these tea
rooms
what he found that these men, some of them were single, some
of them were married, some of them identified as gay
at the time that he did his research (1970s) this was a significant
discovery- his research findings were really important
he was able to demonstrate that sexuality might exist on more on
a spectrum and that people have an identity but they may
have a set of experiences thats diff from that identity
this was important finding but what got so much attention was this
issue of ethics in research
he did not tell these men that he was a researcher
so at no time were they ever consenting to be a part of this study
he acted as a kind of lookout to make sure that people who
weren’t meant to come into the washrooms
how did he receive info on them? like their marital status
he got info on their place of work too
he followed some of these men home, took down info of
their car, their license plate to get info about who
these men were
this was actually so controversial that it was kinda like the
beginning of the end of the university department of his
university (washington)
only this year was the department reinstated
so it did have longstanding effect
Zimbardo: Prison Experiment
from stanford
had male uni students, some acting as v and others acting as
guards
wanted to do this for 2 weeks
wanted to see about obedience to authority
they made it to 6 days bc the people acting as guards become
too involved in their roles
When it comes to research in social science, we want to know things…
Slide: The Basic Idea
The Pursuit of Knowledge / The Rights of Participants
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we want to build on what we already know, develop new ideas but we have to
balance that with the rights of participants
this can be especially difficult when it comes to human subjects vs things like
plants for example
some participants experienced harm, some experienced an infringement of
privacy
Slide: Ethical Guidelines in Canada
it’s fair to say that the controversies we saw wouldn’t happen today
those examples were since the 1960s and 70s
the role of ethics in research has been taken far more seriously and there are
far more rules that researchers have to follow if they want to do a research
project
there’s a longer history of thinking about ethics and research
History Nuremberg Code
this is something that came out of the second world war.
nazis experimented on jews and other persecuted groups became research
subjects without their consent - a lot of suffering occurred because of that
as a result this Nuremberg code was developed and these are the same core
principles that we’re thinking about today when we’re thinking about ethics
and research
Six Core Principles
Voluntary consent
Avoidance of unnecessary suffering
Avoiding of any experiment where death or injury is likely
Termination of research if it will cause harm
Research conducted by the highly qualified only
Results aimed at the good of society and are unattainable by
any other method
In Canada, sociology is governed by whats called the Tri-Council policy
Government regulation of ethical research: Tri-Council Policy Statement
its kinda like our own more local interpretation of these core principles of
the Nuremberg code
it’s called tri-council because it covers health research, natural sciences
and engineering research council canada, and social sciences and
humanities council of canada
this is a document thats pages long, produced by the gov of Canada
that is kind of the oversight for the role of ethics in research
When a researcher wants to do a research project and they have to
seek ethical approval, part of what informs that process, and part of
what the people giving that approval are thinking about is the ti-
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