Sociological research is bound by ethical codes which generally require that:
Research subjects give informed consent to participate in studies
Subjects are not harmed or put at risk
Subject’s privacy is not invaded unnecessarily
Subjects private information is protected
Study findings do not cause harm
Human Subject Review Boards at universities and other research institutions help protect subjects.
Symbolic Interaction: Concerned with how people give meaning to their everyday experiences and how
they define and respond to events
Principles of Symbolic Interactions
Human thoughts are shaped by social interactions
Through interactions people learn the meanings and symbols that allow them to exercise thought and
participate in human action
People modify the meanings and symbols as they make sense of their situation.
Rational Choice Theory: people make their choices based on utilitarian factors. Social behavior is seen as
an exchange activitya transaction in which resources are given and received.
Utilitarian: Maximizes rewards and minimizes costs
Human beings are mostly self centered and motivated by self interest
Humans calculate costs and benefits when making decisions.
Humans are rational, weigh choices to maximize their own benefit
Reciprocity, a balance in the exchange