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AS Sociology: Ethical Factors Influencing Choice of Methods
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AS Sociology: Ethical Factors Influencing Choice of Methods


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  • 1. Sociological Methods: Ethical Factors Influencing Choice of Methods
  • 2. Introduction to Ethical Issues
  • 3. Ethical Issues
    • Ethics refers to moral issues of right & wrong.
      • Sociologists aim to be ethical in the way they study people.
      • British Sociological Association (BSA) set out guidelines on how sociologist should conduct their research ethically.
    • The BSA have five guidelines which we will now examine.
  • 4. I. Informed Consent
  • 5. Informed Consent
    • People being studied (Research Participants) should have the right to refuse.
    • Participants should be fully informed about the study.
    • Consent must be obtained before research begins; if it is a very long study, periodic consent should be requested throughout.
  • 6. II. Confidentiality & Privacy
  • 7. Confidentiality & Privacy
    • Identities of participants should remain private.
    • Researchers need to respect the privacy of the participants-- guarding their private details and their contribution to the study should remain confidential at all times.
  • 8. III. Effects on Research Participant
  • 9. Effects on Research Participant
    • Researchers must be aware that research conducted may affect participants in a negative way.
    • Examples of negative effects:
      • Police intervention
      • Harm to employment prospects
      • Social exclusion
      • Psychological damage
    • Researchers must try to anticipate & prevent such occurrences
  • 10. IV. Vulnerable Groups
  • 11. Vulnerable Groups
    • Include those who are vulnerable because of their age (very young/old), disability or physical/mental health issues.
    • Example: Children in schools.
      • Researchers must be mindful of child protection acts.
      • Obtain consent from both parent and child.
      • Researcher should use understandable language.
  • 12. V. Covert Research
  • 13. Covert Research
    • Where researcher's identity & research purpose are hidden from those they wish to study.
    • Creates serious ethical issues-- seen as deceiving or lying in order to win/gain their trust or get information.
    • Researcher obviously cannot gain informed consent if they are doing covert research.
  • 14. Check Your Learning Identify two ethical issues that sociologist may face in studying people. Give examples and explain your answer fully.
  • 15. Activity: Research Task
    • Go to BSA's website and follow their link to their statement of Ethical Practice.
    • In the statement, find all the examples of where it is okay to ignore the ethical principles listed above.
    • Write down the examples and bring them to class. They will be used next lesson, so you will need them.
  • 16. Bye! See you next lesson!