Ethical issues [in social measurement]: an overview

In Kimberly Kempf-Leonard (ed.), Encyclopedia of Social Measurement. Elsevier (2004)
Ethical issues surrounding research are complex and multifaceted. There are issues concerning: the methods used, the intended purpose, the foreseen and unforeseen effects, the use and dissemination of findings, and, not least, what is and what fails to be researched. - In this article we break down the issues into two main categories: (I) how the research itself is done; and (II) how it is determined by and in turn affects a wider context. In the first section we discuss familiar issues such as the need for methodologically sound investigation, appropriate protections for the human subjects of research, as well as issues arising in collaborative research. The second set of issues is less well investigated and, indeed, particularly difficult to address; these are issues that extend well beyond the control of the researcher(s) or, quite often, any one individual or organization. We discuss the selection of research topics, research funding, publication and, finally, the role of external ethical guidelines and their institutional setting.
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