SOC234 2017 Lab11 – Batemans Bay

Dear SOC234 Lab,

Please respond to the following question with a reply-post of no more than 250 words:

‘What are the key principles and challenges of ethical research?”

Remember that you will need to post your reply before Lab 11, and don’t forget to look at both the instructions for Tweeting and Blogging and the Lab and Lecture Guide, both up on Moodle.

Thanks and good luck, Roger.

#S234UOW17  #Lab11  #BBay

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  1. Ethics is a crucial component of any social research, and must be considered across all stages of the research process. This is due to the impact that research can have on the people involved, either directly or indirectly, therefore the potential for social harm must be carefully considered.

    Ethics can be defined as establishing ‘a set of moral standards that govern the behaviours’ (Habibs 2013, p. 73). And so, research ethics is primarily concerned with ensuring that the ethical principles are in place. The key principles include the following:
    • Informed consent involves, providing the participant an information sheet hat explains what the research is all about, it includes, the risks involved and what is required of them. They can then decide if they want to be involved or not by signing a consent form (Habibis 2013, p. 95).
    • Anonymity, will ensure that the participants privacy is protected and no identifying information is collected
    • Confidentiality guarantees that the information provided by participants during the research, remains private.
    • Protecting the participant from harm is most important

    The Human Research Ethics Committees approves ethical research that demonstrates that these principles are acknowledged and in place before any research commences.

    One of the key challenges is gaining this approval. Given the nature of obtaining informed consent, sometimes this may not be possible. Such as, when conducting ethnographic research, where obtaining informed consent may perhaps compromise the data collected and the findings.

    This can also be challenging when conducting research with vulnerable groups in society, such as children or prisoners. Researchers are directly accountable to minimise this potential for harm, particularly if those people are more vulnerable than others (Habibis 2013).

    All research must be bounded by ethical practices and guidelines. Without this fundamental part of the research process, abuse and or the breech of trust can occur having a negative impact upon the participants.


    Habibis, D 2013, ‘Ethics and Social Research’, in M Walter (ed.), Social Research Methods, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, pp. 72-98.

  2. Ethics in social research include strict guidelines and standards in which a researcher would follow (Habibis 2013, p. 73). There are basic ethical guidelines, and complex ethical guidelines (Habibis 2013, p. 75). These guidelines include the risks within the research which should not result in disability or death, should include the consent from the participants involved, avoiding injury, research conducted by experienced persons, etc. All of these guidelines within social research are the principles within ethical research, and should be maintained throughout the study.
    The challenges can involve from the need for applying the ethical standards which need to take place in order to perform a well-structured and ethical research project/experiment. These challenges may include the volunteers for the research, the consent from the volunteers, the payments to the involved researchers or other participants, etc. (Habibis 2013, p. 89). The consent from the people involved in the research is a very important step regarding the ethical standards within sociological research. Consent can be addressed in many ways, such as orally, in writing and so on (Hababis 2013, p.79). Consent also encourages the understanding of the research being conducted by the participant, which can be an important step within ethical research.

    Habibis, D (2013) ‘Ethics and Social Research’, Chapter 4 in Walter, Maggie (ed.). (2013). Social Research Methods. 3rd Edition. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p72-98

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