New and Emerging Science and Technology (NEST) based innovations, e.g. in the field of Life Sciences or Nanotechnology, frequently raise societal and political concerns. To address these concerns NEST researchers are expected to deploy socially responsible R&D practices. This requires researchers to integrate social and ethical aspects (SEAs) in their daily work. Many methods can facilitate such integration. Still, why and how researchers should and could use SEAs remains largely unclear. In this paper we aim to relate motivations (...) for NEST researchers to include SEAs in their work, and the requirements to establish such integration from their perspectives, to existing approaches that can be used to establish integration of SEAs in the daily work of these NEST researchers. Based on our analyses, we argue that for the successful integration of SEAs in R&D practice, collaborative approaches between researchers and scholars from the social sciences and humanities seem the most successful. The only way to explore whether that is in fact the case, is by embarking on collaborative research endeavours. (shrink)
This paper reports from an ongoing multidisciplinary, ethnographic study that is exploring the views, values and practices (the ethical frameworks) drawn on by professional staff in assisted conception units and stem cell laboratories in relation to embryo donation for research purposes, particularly human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research, in the UK. We focus here on the connection between possible incidental findings and the circumstances in which embryos are donated for hESC research, and report some of the uncertainties (...) and dilemmas of our staff participants. We explore the views of our study participants in relation to two themes: (1) rights to information and anticipating how donors might be informed about future research findings and (2) occupational work goals and trust. (shrink)
As we approach the end of the twentieth century, the ways in which knowledge--scientific, social, and cultural--is produced are undergoing fundamental changes. In The New Production of Knowledge, a distinguished group of authors analyze these changes as marking the transition from established institutions, disciplines, practices, and policies to a new mode of knowledge production. Identifying such elements as reflexivity, transdisciplinarity, and heterogeneity within this new mode, the authors consider their impact and interplay with the role of knowledge in (...) class='Hi'>social relations. While the knowledge produced by research and development in science and technology is accorded central focus, the authors also outline the changing dimensions of social scientific and humanities knowledge and the relations between the production of knowledge and its dissemination through education. Placing science policy and scientific knowledge within the broader context of contemporary society, this book will be essential reading for all those concerned with the changing nature of knowledge, with the social study of science, with educational systems, and with the correlation between research and development and social, economic, and technological development. "Thought-provoking in its identification of issues that are global in scope; for policy makers in higher education, government, or the commercial sector." --Choice "By their insightful identification of the recent social transformation of knowledge production, the authors have been able to assert new imperatives for policy institutions. The lessons of the book are deep." --Alexis Jacquemin, Universite Catholique de Louvain and Advisor, Foreign Studies Unit, European Commission "Should we celebrate the emergence of a 'post-academic' mode of postmodern knowledge production of the post-industrial society of the 21st Century? Or should we turn away from it with increasing fear and loathing as we also uncover its contradictions. A generation of enthusiasts and/or critics will be indebted to the team of authors for exposing so forcefully the intimate connections between all the cognitive, educational, organizational, and commercial changes that are together revolutionizing the sciences, the technologies, and the humanities. This book will surely spark off a vigorous and fruitful debate about the meaning and purpose of knowledge in our culture." --Professor John Ziman, (Wendy, Janey at Ltd. is going to provide affiliation. Contact if you don't hear from her.) "Jointly authored by a team of distinguished scholars spanning a number of disciplines, The New Production of Knowledge maps the changes in the mode of knowledge production and the global impact of such transformations. . . . The authors succeed . . . at sketching out, in very large strokes, the emerging trends in knowledge production and their implications for future society. The macro focus of the book is a welcome change from the micro obsession of most sociologists of science, who have pretty much deconstructed institutions and even scientific knowledge out of existence." --Contemporary Sociology "This book is a timely contribution to current discussion on the breakdown of and need to renegotiate the social contract between science and society that Vannevar Bush and likeminded architects of science policy constructed immediately after World War II. It goes far beyond the usual scattering of fragmentary insights into changing institutional landscapes, cognitive structures, or quality control mechanisms of present day science, and their linkages with society at large. Tapping a wide variety of sources, the authors provide a coherent picture of important new characteristics that, taken altogether, fundamentally challenge our traditional notions of what academic research is all about. This well-founded analysis of the social redistribution of knowledge and its associated power patterns helps articulate what otherwise tends to remain an--albeit widespread--intuition. Unless they adapt to the new situation, universities in the future will find the centers of gravity of knowledge production moving even further beyond their ken. Knowledge of the social and cognitive dynamics of science in research is much needed as a basis of science and technology policymaking. The New Production of Knowledge does a lot to fill this gap. Another unique feature is its discussion of the humanities, which are usually left out in works coming out of the social studies of science." --Aant Elzinga, University od Goteborg. (shrink)
Trust has become an important aspect of evaluating the relationship between lay public and technology implementation. Experiences have shown that a focus on trust provides a richer understanding of reasons for backlashes of technology in society than a mere focus of public understanding of risks and science communication. Therefore, trust is also widely used as a key concept for understanding and predicting trust or distrust in emerging technologies. But whereas trust broadens the scope for understanding established technologies with well-defined questions (...) and controversies, it easily fails to do so with emerging technologies, where there are no shared questions, a lack of public familiarity with the technology in question, and a restricted understanding amongst social researchers as to where distrust is likely to arise and how and under which form the technology will actually be implemented. Rather contrary, ‘trust’ might sometimes even direct socialresearch into fixed structures that makes it even more difficult for socialresearch to provide socially robust knowledge. This article therefore suggests that if trust is to maintain its important role in evaluating emerging technologies, the approach has to be widened and initially focus not on people’s motivations for trust, but rather the object of trust it self, as to predicting how and where distrust might appear, how the object is established as an object of trust, and how it is established in relation with the public. (shrink)
Research Ethics Committees (RECs) or Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) are rapidly becoming indispensable mechanisms in the overall workings of university institutions. In fact, the ethical dimension is an important aspect of research governance processes present in institutions of higher learning. However, it is often deemed that research in the social sciences do not require ethical appraisal or clearance, because of the alleged absence of harm in conducting such research. This is an erroneous and dangerous assumption (...) given that research in social sciences poses various and complex dilemmas related to ethics. The article aims to gauge the importance of ethical appraisal at a particular institution of higher learning’s Faculty of Humanities. This is done by scrutinising its defunct REC, and the views that Heads of Departments of the Faculty have of ethics in research and the need for ethical appraisal by this REC. Finally, some suggestions are made to proceed to review and restructure the current REC with the ultimate objective to make it functional again. It was found that the development and discussion around ethics in research and ethical appraisal are part of a much needed thrust to sensitise the entire Faculty and the institution on the widespread beneficial repercussions of ethical awareness in research and beyond. (shrink)
Trust has become an important aspect of evaluating the relationship between lay public and technology implementation. Experiences have shown that a focus on trust provides a richer understanding of reasons for backlashes of technology in society than a mere focus of public understanding of risks and science communication. Therefore, trust is also widely used as a key concept for understanding and predicting trust or distrust in emerging technologies. But whereas trust broadens the scope for understanding established technologies with well-defined questions (...) and controversies, it easily fails to do so with emerging technologies, where there are no shared questions, a lack of public familiarity with the technology in question, and a restricted understanding amongst social researchers as to where distrust is likely to arise and how and under which form the technology will actually be implemented. Rather contrary, â€˜trustâ€™ might sometimes even direct socialresearch into fixed structures that makes it even more difficult for socialresearch to provide socially robust knowledge. This article therefore suggests that if trust is to maintain its important role in evaluating emerging technologies, the approach has to be widened and initially focus not on peopleâ€™s motivations for trust, but rather the object of trust it self, as to predicting how and where distrust might appear, how the object is established as an object of trust, and how it is established in relation with the public. (shrink)
This book defends the prospects for a science of society. It argues that behind the diverse methods of the natural sciences lies a common core of scientific rationality that the social sciences can and sometimes do achieve. It also argues that good social science must be in part about large-scale social structures and processes and thus that methodological individualism is misguided. These theses are supported by a detailed discussion of actual socialresearch, including theories of (...) agrarian revolution, organizational ecology, social theories of depression, and supply-demand explanations in economics. Professor Kincaid provides a general picture of explanation and confirmation in the social sciences and discusses the nature of scientific rationality, functional explanation, optimality arguments, meaning and interpretation, the place of microfoundations in social explanation, the status of neo-classical economics, the role of idealizations and non-experimental evidence, and other specific controversies. (shrink)
The experience with genetically modified foods has been prominent in motivating science, industry and regulatory bodies to address the social and ethical dimensions of nanotechnology. The overall objective is to gain the general public’s acceptance of nanotechnology in order not to provoke a consumer boycott as it happened with genetically modified foods. It is stated implicitly in reports on nanotechnology research and development that this acceptance depends on the public’s confidence in the technology and that the confidence is (...) created on the basis of information, education, openness and debate about scientific and technological developments. Hence, it is assumed that informing and educating the public will create trust, which will consequently lead to an acceptance of nanotechnology. Thus, the humanities and social sciences are seen as tools to achieve public acceptance. In this paper, the author argues that this is a narrow apprehension of the role of the humanities and social sciences. The humanities and social sciences have a critical function asking fundamental questions and informing the public about these reflections. This may lead to scepticism, however, the motivation for addressing the social and ethical dimensions of nanotechnology should not be public acceptance but informed judgement. The author illustrates this critical function by discussing the role, motivation and contribution of ethics as an example. Lastly, the author shows that a possible strategy for incorporating the humanities and the social sciences into nanotechnology research and development is Real-Time Technology Assessment, where the purpose is to integrate natural science and engineering investigations with ethical, legal and social science from the outset. (shrink)
In this study we analyze the overlapping perspectives of legitimacy theory, institutional theory, resource dependence theory, and stakeholder theory. Our purpose is to explore how these theories can inform and be built upon by one another. Through our analysis we provide a broader theoretical understanding of these theories that may support and promote social and environmental accounting research. This article starts with a detailed analysis of legitimacy theory by bringing some recent critical discussions on legitimacy and corporations in (...) the management literature into accounting research. The notion forwarded by legitimacy theory then serves as an overarching concept to examine the relationship between and among theories. We conclude that two theoretical considerations are important for future social and environmental accounting research. First, it must be acknowledged that some business entities initiate social activities based on direct interactions with stakeholders, whereas others may also undertake similar activities to manage their societal level of legitimacy. Second, from analyzing the perspectives of legitimacy theory, institutional theory, resource dependence theory, and stakeholder theory, it is possible to reach compatible interpretations of business social phenomena, and the selection and application of these theories should depend upon the focus of study. (shrink)
Gender is one of the most frequently studied variables within the ethics literature. In prior studies that find gender differences, females consistently report more ethical responses than males. However, prior research also indicates that females are more prone to responding in a socially desirable fashion. Consequently, it is uncertain whether gender differences in ethical decision-making exist because females are more ethical or perhaps because females are more prone to the social desirability response bias. Using a sample of 30 (...) scenarios from prior studies that find gender differences, we examine whether these gender differences remain robust once social desirability is controlled for in the analysis. Our data suggest that the effect of gender on ethical decision-making is largely attenuated once social desirability is included in the analysis. In essence, the social desirability response bias appears to be driving a significant portion of the relationship between gender and ethical decision-making. We discuss several important research implications of this study. (shrink)
This article argues that investigators doing developmental and socialresearch with children have, for the most part, failed to acknowledge the inherent implications of their work for children's rights. The impact of these studies upon children's rights occurs at every stage; from hypothesis formulation to hypothesis testing to dissemination of findings. This paper addresses the issue in the context of developmental research on children's ability to report experienced events accurately. This particular research area has generated data (...) that has been extrapolated to legal contexts and created a foundation for assumptions about the credibility of child witnesses. This in turn has had profound effects on children's right to be heard and the weight given to their testimony. The argument is made that there is a need for social scientists to explicitly articulate how their work may impact upon children's rights and what is in fact the social agenda in this regard underlying their research. (shrink)
This paper offers a realist critique of socialresearch on health inequalities. A conspectus of thefield of health inequalities research identifies twomain research approaches: the positivist quantitativesurvey and the interpretivist qualitative `casestudy'. We argue that both approaches suffer fromserious philosophical limitations. We suggest that aturn to realism offers a productive `third way' bothfor the development of health inequality research inparticular and for the social scientific understandingof the complexities of the social world in general.
Regulation and governance of medical research is frequently criticised by researchers. In this paper, we draw on Everett Hughes’ concepts of professional licence and professional mandate, and on contemporary sociological theory on risk regulation, to explain the emergence of research governance and the kinds of criticism it receives. We offer explanations for researcher criticism of the rules and practices of research governance, suggesting that these are perceived as interference in their mandate. We argue that, in spite of (...) their complaints, researchers benefit from the institutions of governance and regulation, in particular by the ways in which regulation secures the social licence for research. While it is difficult to answer questions such as: “Is medical research over-regulated?” and “Does the regulation of medical research successfully protect patients or promote ethical conduct?”, a close analysis of the social functions of research governance and its relationship to risk, trust, and confidence permits us to pose these questions in a more illuminating way. (shrink)
All investigators funded by the National Institutes of Health are now required to receive training about the ethics of clinical research. Based on a course taught by the editors at NIH, Ethical and Regulatory Aspects of Clinical Research is the first book designed to help investigators meet this new requirement. The book begins with the history of human subjects research and guidelines instituted since World War II. It then covers various stages and components of the clinical (...) trial process: designing the trial, recruiting participants, ensuring informed consent, studying special populations, and conducting international research. Concluding chapters address conflicts of interest, scientific misconduct, and challenges to the IRB system. The appendix provides sample informed consent forms. This book will be used in undergraduate courses on research ethics and in schools of medicine and public health by students who are or will be carrying out clinical research. Professionals in need of such training and bioethicists also will be interested. (shrink)
BackgroundPromoting the social value of global health research undertaken in resource poor settings has become a key concern in global research ethics. The consideration for benefit sharing, which concerns the elucidation of what if anything, is owed to participants, their communities and host nations that take part in such research, and the obligations of researchers involved, is one of the main strategies used for promoting social value of research. In the last decade however, there (...) has been intense debate within academic bioethics literature seeking to define the benefits, the beneficiaries, and the scope of obligations for providing these benefits. Although this debate may be indicative of willingness at the international level to engage with the responsibilities of researchers involved in global health research, it remains unclear which forms of benefits or beneficiaries should be considered. International and local research ethics guidelines are reviewed here to delineate the guidance they provide.MethodsWe reviewed documents selected from the international compilation of research ethics guidelines by the Office for Human Research Protections under the US Department of Health and Human Services.ResultsAccess to interventions being researched, the provision of unavailable health care, capacity building for individuals and institutions, support to health care systems and access to medical and public health interventions proven effective, are the commonly recommended forms of benefits. The beneficiaries are volunteers, disease or illness affected communities and the population in general. Interestingly however, there is a divide between "global opinion" and the views of particular countries within resource poor settings as made explicit by differences in emphasis regarding the potential benefits and the beneficiaries.ConclusionAlthough in theory benefit sharing is widely accepted as one of the means for promoting the social value of international collaborative health research, there is less agreement amongst major guidelines on the specific responsibilities of researchers over what is ethical in promoting the social value of research. Lack of consensus might have practical implications for efforts aimed at enhancing the social value of global health research undertaken in resource poor settings. Further developments in global research ethics require more reflection, paying attention to the practical realities of implementing the ethical principles in real world context. (shrink)
This volume constitutes a lucid introduction to methodology in socialresearch. It will enable social science researchers trained in a particular field to look beyond and relate to other methodological domains.
Nanotechnology is an important platform technology which will add new features like improved biocompatibility, smaller size, and more sophisticated electronics to neuro-implants improving their therapeutic potential. Especially in view of possible advantages for patients, research and development of nanotechnologically improved neuro implants is a moral obligation. However, the development of brain implants by itself touches many ethical, social and legal issues, which also apply in a specific way to devices enabled or improved by nanotechnology. For researchers developing nanotechnology (...) such issues are rather distant from their daily work in the lab, but as soon as they use their materials or devices in medical applications such as therapy of brain diseases they have to be aware of and deal with them. This paper is intended to raise sensitivity for the ethical, legal and socialaspects (ELSA) involved in applying nanotechnology in brain implants or other devices by highlighting the short term problems of testing and clinical trials within the existing regulatory frameworks (A), the short and medium-term questions of risks in the application of the devices (B) and the long-term perspectives related to problems of enhancement (C). To identify and address such issues properly nanotechnologists should involve ethical, legal and social experts and regulatory bodies in their research as early as possible. This will help to remove pressure from regulatory bodies, to settle public concern and to prevent non-acceptable developments for the benefit of the patients. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. The savior of capitalism: the power of economic discourse; 3. The mentors of the Holocaust and the power of race science; 4. Protectors of nature: the power of climate change research; 5. Conclusion; Bibliography.
In this paper, the results of a pilot interview study with 19 subjects participating in an EEG-based non-invasive brain–computer interface (BCI) research study on stroke rehabilitation and assistive technology and of a survey among 17 BCI professionals are presented and discussed in the light of ethical, legal, and social issues in research with human subjects. Most of the users were content with study participation and felt well informed. Negative aspects reported include the long and cumbersome preparation (...) procedure, discomfort with the cap and the wet electrodes, problems concerning BCI control, and strains during the training sessions. In addition, some users reflected on issues concerning system security. When asked for morally problematic issues in this field of non-invasive BCI research, the BCI professionals stressed the need for correct information transfer, the obligation to avoid unrealistic expectations in study participants, the selection of study participants, benefits and strains of participation, BCI illiteracy, the possibility of detrimental brain modifications induced by BCI use, and problems that may arise at the end of the trials. Furthermore, privacy issues were raised. Based on the results obtained, psychosocial and ethical aspects of EEG-based non-invasive BCI research are discussed and possible implications for future research addressed. (shrink)
This article will address the issue of using understandings of psychodynamic interrelations as a means to grasp how social and cultural dynamics are processed individually and collectively in narratives. I apply the two theoretically distinct concepts of inter- and intrasubjectivity to gain insight into how social and cultural dynamics are processed as subjective experiences and reflected in the interrelational space created in narrative interviews with trainee social educators. By using a combination of interactionist theory and psychosocial theory (...) in the analysis of an interview with a student of social education, I demonstrate how the often conflicting demands and expectations are being played out in the interrelational tension between the researcher (myself) and the interviewee or narrator. In a confrontation with "inner" expectations and concerns regarding a future profession and one's ability to cope, and the "outer" socially and culturally embedded discourses as they are played out in the objectives of self-development and education, the narrative about a forthcoming internship is filled with tension and contradiction. In this article I will demonstrate how such tensions and contradictions are valuable sources of information in understanding the process of becoming a social educator. (shrink)
There have been serious controversies in the latter part of the 20th century about the roles and functions of scientific and medical research. In whose interests are medical and biomedical experiments conducted and what are the ethical implications of experimentation on subjects unable to give competent consent? From the decades following the Second World War and calls for the global banning of medical research to the cautious return to the notion that in controlled circumstances, medical research on (...) human subjects is in the best interest of the given individual and the broader population, this book addresses the key implications of experimentation on humans. This volume covers major ethical themes within biomedical research providing historical, philosophical, legal and policy reflections on the literature and specific issues in the field of research on human subjects. Focusing on special populations (the elderly, children, prisoners and the cognitively impaired) it represents the most up-to-date review of the special ethical and legal conflicts that arise with relation to experimentation on subjects from these groups. In the light of current initiatives for law reform pertaining to research ethics the world over, this volume provides a timely, comprehensive and provocative exploration of the field. The volume has been carefully organized to present important philosophical perspectives on organizing principles that should underlie any practical application. A forward-looking historical review of the regulatory regimes of principal jurisdictions, including of the legal controls already in place, provides the backdrop for future policy initiatives. Additionally, in the light of global restructuring of health care systems, several chapters have been devoted to epidemiological research and related issues. (shrink)
This timely and topical look at the role of ethics in fieldwork takes into account some of the major issues confronting qualitative researchers. The main purposes of this book are twofold: to promote an understanding of the harmful possibilities of fieldwork; and to provide ways of dealing with ethical problems and dilemmas. To these ends, examples of actual fieldwork are provided that address ethical problems and dilemmas, and posit ways of dealing with them.
The problem of person’s social formation becomes especialy actual in all its aspects during the periods of social historical transformations. The guiding lines of individual’s development accepted by society (socialization norms) are either lacking or being overthrown. Such situation demands from the researchers to switch their attention from the mechanisms of sociality reproduction to the mechanisms responsible for the sociality formation. The last ones become the main subject of the self-organization theory (synergetics). According to it, socialization can (...) be represented as the self-organizing system-process. The attempt to use the principle of unlinearity in the research of social formation of personality, is undertaken in the present article. (shrink)
This paper reports the results of questionnaire-based research conducted at an exhibition of interactive humanoid robots that was held at the Osaka Science Museum, Japan. The aim of this exhibition was to investigate the feasibility of communication robots connected to a ubiquitous sensor network, under the assumption that these robots will be practically used in daily life in the not-so-distant future. More than 90,000 people visited the exhibition. A questionnaire was given to the visitors to explore their opinions of (...) the robots. Statistical analysis was done on the data of 2,301 respondents. It was found that the visitorsâ opinions varied according to age; younger visitors did not necessarily like the robots more than elderly visitors; positive evaluation of the robots did not necessarily conflict with negative evaluations such as anxiety; there was no gender difference; and there was almost no correlation between opinions and the length of time spent near the robots. (shrink)
It is not unusual for researchers to complain about institutional review board (IRB) oversight, but social scientists have a unique set of objections to the work of ethics committees. In an effort to better understand the problems associated with ethics review of social, behavioral, and economic sciences (SBES) research, this article examines 3 different aspects of research ethics committees: (a) the composition of review boards; (b) the guidelines used by these boards to review SBES - (...) and in particular, behavioral health - research; and (c) the actual deliberations of IRBs. The article concludes with recommendations for changes in the review process and with suggestions for filling the gaps in knowledge about the way IRBs work. (shrink)
There are plausible academic as well as social indicators that qualitative research has become an indispensable part of the methodological repertoire of the social sciences. Relying upon the tenets of the qualitative approach which require a priority of subject matter over method and a necessary socio-historical contextualization, I reconstruct some aspects of a social history that have shaped the quantitative—qualitative dichotomy and the quantitative imperative; these include modern individualism, monological rationality, manufacture operating on the grounds (...) of common human labour, mechanics as the first science, quantification as a technology of distanced objectivity and a search for certainty realized at the expense of qualitative attributes. The so-called renaissance of the qualitative approach starting in 1960s, understood as a kind of a return of repressed qualities, is also socio-culturally contextualized. Both anthropogenetic and sociogenetic reconstructions as well as a microgenetic analysis of the research process demonstrate that choices of subject matter and of methodology are socially and culturally embedded and necessarily linked to broader interests and beliefs. (shrink)
Bill Starbuck has been one of the leading management researchers over several decades. In this book he reflects on a number of challenges associated with management and social science research - the search for a 'behavioral science', the limits of rationality, the unreliability of many research findings, the social shaping of research agendas, cultures and judgements. It is an engaging, chronologically structured account in which he discusses some of his own research projects and various (...) methodological debates. -/- This is a feisty argument from someone who has been fully engaged with all aspects of research - carrying out research programmes, evaluating research, tirelessly questioning the assumptions and claims of social science research, and never avoiding the awkward theoretical or practical challenges that face organizational researchers. -/- Well written, provocative and unusual, this quasi autobiographical account will inform and entertain, and be a valuable guide to current and future research students. (shrink)
Social scientists have a long history of concern with the effects of industrialized farming on communities. Recently, the topic has taken on new importance as corporate farming laws in a number of states are challenged by agribusiness interests. Defense of these laws often requires evidence from social science research that industrialized farming poses risks to communities. A problem is that no recent journal articles or books systematically assess the extent to which research to date provides evidence (...) of these risks. This article addresses the gap in the literature. We evaluate studies investigating the effects of industrialized farming on community well-being from the 1930s to the present. Using a pool of 51 studies, we document the research designs employed, evaluate results as to whether adverse consequences were found, and delineate the aspects of community life that may be affected by industrialized farming. Of these studies, 57% found largely detrimental impacts, 25% were mixed, finding some detrimental impacts, and 18% found no detrimental impacts. Adverse impacts were found across an array of indicators measuring socioeconomic conditions, community social fabric, and environmental conditions. Few positive effects of industrialized farming were found across studies. The results demonstrate that public concern about industrialized farms is warranted. Scholars often debate whether research should be oriented around disciplines’ accumulated body of knowledge or, conversely, provide critical knowledge in the public interest. Social scientists’ long-term engagement in building the body of research on industrialized farming allows for accomplishment of both objectives. (shrink)
Background: Our theoretical perspectives direct our research processes. The article contributes to the debate on Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) and Dewey’s idea-based social constructivism, and to the debate on methodology and how the researcher’s theoretical stance guides the researcher in his or her work. Purpose: The article presents fundamental ideas within CHAT and Dewey’s idea-based social constructivism. The purpose of the text is to discuss and examine how ideas in these two theories guide educational research (...) conducted within the framework of these two approaches. Furthermore, the article aims to contribute to the discussion on CHAT and Dewey’s theory. Sources of evidence: Ideas based on Vygotsky’s theories, represented mainly by James Wertsch, Michael Cole, Barbara Rogoff and Yrjö Engeström, and Dewey’s ideas, are examined and discussed in relation to educational research. Furthermore, statements made by Mietinnen, Garrison and Rorty are taken into account in the discussion on the two outlined theories. Main argument: When CHAT and Dewey’s theory guide researchers in their work, they have to take the context or situation into consideration. Artefacts are treated as part of this context, and therefore have to be a focal point of the research. In educational research the classroom and the teacher are also central parts of the learning environment or context. The teacher is the one to form the learning environment in which the pupils think and act, and therefore, the teacher’s role in the classroom is important. If researchers are to manage to focus on pupils’ learning, they must direct their research focus both on the teacher as an organizer of the activities and on the collaborating and supporting processes between the teacher and the pupils, and between the pupils. This means that the research focus has to include both activity and dialogue, which includes processes in all their complexity. Conclusions: Mediating artefacts play a central role both in CHAT and Dewey’s theory. If the researcher is to ascertain what the pupils learn when using specific artefacts, he or she will have to study the activities or processes within which these learning aids are used. This indicates that the researcher has to study learning processes in progress. Garrison states that Dewey’s approach is a philosophy of cultural development. Miettinen finds that Dewey’s theory does not serve as the foundation for both historical and cultural analyses of action. I disagree with Rorty and Mietinnen, and rather follow Garrison’s lead. In both theories, social, cultural and historical factors are, in my opinion, viewed as decisive factors intertwined in what happens here and now. Therefore the setting that frames the activity with its social, cultural and historical aspects also has to be brought into focus in one’s research activity. (shrink)
Deception of subjects is used frequently in the social sciences. Examples are provided. The ethics of experimental deception are discussed, in particular various maneuvers to solve the problem. The results have implications for the use of deception in the biomedical sciences.
With increasing flexibility of technology and a shift towards competence being the core of competitive edge in worklife, the need for new organizational concepts or models which givejoint optimization across human and technological dimensions has been acknowledged in leading, innovative enterprises. National crossdisciplinary research based productivity programmes are appearing in several countries. Due to internationalization and the general shortcomings of bureaucratic organizational forms, regional networks of enterprises in cooperation with public R&D institutions seem to provide answers to needs of (...) regions to remain competitive. The paper discusses the possible role of social science in a multilevel, participative strategy for developing new, democratic and productive organizational forms in worklife. Aspects of national productivity programmes in Scandinavia, Germany and Australia are discussed in connection with the situation in Italy as analyzed through some recent research projects. (shrink)
In this book Jeremy Dunning-Davies deals with the influence that "conventional wisdom" has on science, scientific research and development. He sets out to explode' the mythical conception that all scientific topics are open for free discussion and argues that no-one can openly raise questions about relativity, dispute the 'Big Bang' theory, or the existence of black holes, which all seem to be accepted facts of science rather than science fiction. In today's modern climate with "Britain's radioactive refuse heap already (...) big enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall" (Edmund Conway, Economics Editor The Daily Telegraph 28.11.06), it is alarming that there are potential advances in hadronic mechanics which could conceivably pave the way for new clean energies and even a safe in-house method for the disposal of nuclear waste, that have not even been considered by the present establishment. These examples are from the field of physics but there can be little doubt that outside factors have affected the progress of most, if not all, branches of science for many years. Factors other than purely scientific ones still appear to be exerting tremendous influences on progress in a wide variety of fields. Is it too idealistic or nai;ve, to expect that science should remain pure and stay unaffected by such factors? Dr Dunning-Davies presents a beautifully written argument that if science is to progress, and be of any real use, these external factors must be held at bay. (shrink)
Health research has been identified as a vehicle for advancing global justice in health. However, in bioethics, issues of global justice are mainly discussed within an ongoing debate on the conditions under which international clinical research is permissible. As a result, current ethical guidance predominantly links one type of international research (biomedical) to advancing one aspect of health equity (access to new treatments). International guidelines largely fail to connect international research to promoting broader aspects of (...) health equity – namely, healthier social environments and stronger health systems. Bioethical frameworks such as the human development approach do consider how international clinical research is connected to the social determinants of health but, again, do so to address the question of when international clinical research is permissible. It is suggested that the narrow focus of this debate is shaped by high-income countries' economic strategies. The article further argues that the debate's focus obscures a stronger imperative to consider how other types of international research might advance justice in global health. Bioethics should consider the need for non-clinical health research and its contribution to advancing global justice. (shrink)
Conducting empirical research on gender in medical ethics is a challenge from a theoretical as well as a practical point of view. It still has to be clarified how gender aspects can be integrated without sustaining gender stereotypes. The developmental psychologist Carol Gilligan was among the first to question ethics from a gendered point of view. The notion of care introduced by her challenged conventional developmental psychology as well as moral philosophy. Gilligan was criticised, however, because her concept (...) of âtwo different voicesâ may reinforce gender stereotypes. Moreover, although Gilligan stressed relatedness, this is not reflected in her own empirical approach, which still focuses on individual moral reflection. Concepts from social psychology can help overcome both problems. Social categories like gender shape moral identity and moral decisions. If morality is understood as being lived through actions of persons in social relationships, gender becomes a helpful category of moral analysis. Our findings will provide a conceptual basis for the question how empirical research in medical ethics can successfully embrace a gendered perspective. (shrink)