“Ethics an agreement to do something. (oxford university

“Ethics is concerned
with the attempt to formulate codes and principles of moral behaviour” (May, 2011). Ethics is also
known as moral philosophy, it’s concerned with the study of questions of right
and wrong and how we ought to live. This is about morality, and acting in a way
that is morally justified. Most individual develop a sense of morality, and act
in accordance with what they consider right and wrong.  However, opinions about what is right and
wrong can differ enormously. Keith F Punch defines ethics “as the study of what are good, right or virtuous courses of action: can
be approached from different points of views” (Punch, 2014). This quote
shows that ethics includes making moral judgments deciding what is right or

It’s important for researchers to examine ethical issues when
conducting social and criminological research. It is vital that individuals who
are participating within the research are respected and that they are all
treated equally. Also, everyone must be fully aware and informed about what
will happening during the research, the duration of how long the research will
be and the risk that may occur during the research. Consent is when you allow
something to take place, it could be an agreement to do something. (oxford
university press, 2018)Therefore, this shows that consent is
important because it allows the individuals to have a say whether they want to
take part in the research. However, participants have a right to withdraw which
means leave themselves from the research. This usually occurs later on when the
research has been conducted. Some participants who withdraw themselves from the
research is because they can no longer cope with research. Those who are not
allowed to have a right to withdraw end up having stress.

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Criminological research deals with human behaviour and
criminal actions. “The scientific study
of crime, criminals, criminal behaviour, and corrections.” (Farlex, 2016) When studying
human behaviour, it is important to identify ethical issues that may occur for example,
personal beliefs or opinions can affect the research which could cause problems
to arise and could result to a negative outcome.

There are aspects that social and criminological
researchers must follow and take into consideration while conducting their research.
They need to be able to have done an in-depth investigation about
criminological and social issues so that their knowledge about criminological
and social issues is secured. Also, it’s significant that they keep up to date
with issues that is going on. For example, by ensuring that their research is
up to date and reliable because secondary data can be difficult to use since
the research is a secondary source. Having relevant resources is beneficial
because it helps strengthen the research, e.g. up to date reports can allow the
researcher to have an understanding regarding specific issues that is related
to the research.


Researchers should identify the use of their colleagues
work and ideas and research materials. The advantage of doing this is that it
allows more suggestions to help the research.  Professional appropriate training is also
important because each researcher needs to know what they are doing properly so
that the outcome of the research is positive. However, if they are not trained properly,
it is likely for them to do the wrong thing which could put the whole research
at jeopardy. It’s central that equality is also promoted always. Mac Millan
dictionary defines equal opportunity as “a
situation in which people have the same opportunities in life as other people,
without being treated in an unfair way because of their race, sex, sexuality,
religion, or age” (Mac Millan , 2018). Ensuring
everyone ideas are heard and being taken into consideration no one being
treated superior or inferior. By doing this, it’s likely for that outcome of
the research will be positive.

Researchers’ responsibilities to research participants is
that they should no be harmed. physical harms: including injury, illness, pain.
Psychological harms:  feelings of
worthlessness, distress, guilt, anger or fear related, for example, the
disclosure of sensitive or embarrassing information, or learning about something
that could lead to them being stressed or sick and the feeling of not belonging
.Devaluation of personal worth: including being humiliated manipulated during
the research or in other ways treated disrespectfully or unjustly for example, doing
something that they do not feel comfortable or doing something that they did
not sign up for. Ensuring that all research participants are protected always
and making sure their needs are being met. For example, making sure the
individuals who are on medication are taking their medication on time.

They should also, attempt to protect the rights of those
that they are studying. This includes their interest’s privacy. Researchers
should also put into consideration if the research will be disturbing or not
for example the Milgram experiment. Therefore, those who are vulnerable wouldn’t
be able to participate in such research. However, factors such as: age, gender,
ethnicity and medical condition will need to be evaluated to whether or not
they are suitable to take part in the research. Researchers should also
consider whether it is appropriate to offer help services that could help them
after the research e.g. counselling, leaflets, support groups etc.

Location of participation is also an important ethical factor
that needs to be put into consideration. Some locations are difficult to access
therefore this can affect the research outcome. It can be time-consuming also for
example, conducting a research in the school some classes may go on school
trips, some schools are do not allow people to do research. Therefore, it is
very crucial that background information is done, if not it can affect how long
the research will take. Environmental impact e.g. areas that are near
deposition of rubbish, polluted areas etc, is also important. For the reason
that individuals who suffer from asthma will have to be careful because they wouldn’t
be able to go around areas like that due to their condition.




is a set of rules or a promise that limits access or places restrictions on
certain types of information” (Whatis, 2009). Confidentiality is
important because it is important that research participants’ information is
kept private because it is part of the care value base and also, it protects
the individual both during and after the research. It is very vital that the
researchers keep the research participants name anonymous or their name should
be changed during the duration of the research. However, if this isn’t done the
research participate life will be at risk for example interviewing an
individual who witnessed a robbery, and the researcher forgot to change the
interviewee name to anonymous in the report this could put the individual lie
at risk and it could cause the individual segregate themselves from everyone.

Therefore, it’s important for researchers to maintain confidentiality
so that the research participants are protected. Therefore, beforehand it’s
important that the social and criminology researchers tell the participants
their rights so not only are they aware of their rights but they also know what
will be happing during the research.

On the other hand, its important that information should
not be kept from the research participants and they should not be misled. This
is known as deception. “the act of
causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid” (Merriam Webster, 2018). Keeping
information away from participants is dangerous It prevents the participants
from giving informed consent and the participant taking part in the research
may be going against their beliefs or values. This can be risky because the
right to privacy isn’t being followed and consent hasn’t been given as well. For
example covert observation, research participants may not even be aware that
there is a study going on. Hence why t’s important that no information is withheld
from the participants. Therefore, this could lead to a negative outcome. The
issue could be dealt by telling the research participants at the end of the
experiment the true aim off the research.


 Minimizing risks to researcher’s
participants is vital. Being sympathetic to the constraints on organizations
participating in research and not inhibit their functioning by imposing any
unnecessary burdens. There may be particular difficulties where the
commissioners of research require the delivery of certain information within a
specified time period and so researchers sometimes have to tread a fine line
between satisfying commissioners/funders of research and respecting the
constraints of participating organizations.

6.Take part in
research voluntarily, free from any concern and be able to give freely informed
consent in all but exceptional circumstances, Covert research may be allowed
where the ends might be thought to justify the means. Examples of this include
research on the National Front and research that has exposed racism and other
social harms. However recognition of this point should not be taken to mean
that the BSC condones all covert research, it is simply to acknowledge that
there are some circumstances where attempts to gain individual consent would be
counterproductive. Advice must be sought from the research supervisor, local
research managers, university ethics committees and or funders. Of course,
there are other circumstances where individual consent cannot be sought such as
research on public behaviour, crowd behaviour, riots and other collective
behavior, and research which focuses on TV image.

Accept that informed
consent implies a responsibility on the part of the researchers to explain as
fully as possible, and in terms meaningful to participants, what the research
is about, who is undertaking and financing it, why it is being undertaken, and
how any research findings are to be disseminated. It is reasonable to expect
that researchers should provide all participants with a full explanation of the

 Ensure that participants’ consent should be
given on the basis of sufficient information about the research ensuring that
there is no explicit or implicit coercion. Researchers need to check that each
participant is making a voluntary and informed decision to participate.
Research participants should be informed about the limits to confidentiality
and anonymity. Participants should be able to reject the use of data-gathering
devices such as digital recorders. If the Researcher feels that it is necessary
to break confidentiality; the participant will normally be informed of what
action is being taken by the researcher unless to do so would increase the risk
to those concerned.

 Pay special attention to these matters when
participation is sought from children and young people, older people, those
with a learning disability or cognitive impairment, or individuals in a
dependent or unequal relationship, including consideration of the need for
additional consent from an adult responsible for the child at the time
participation is sought. Every effort should be made to secure free and
informed consent from individual participants. Passive assent, including group
assent (with consent given by a gatekeeper) should be avoided  Wherever possible, and every effort should be
made to develop methods of seeking consent that are appropriate to the groups
being studied. It is not considered appropriate to assume that penal and care
institutions can give informed consent to research on young people’s behalf.
The young people themselves must be consulted. Furthermore, researchers should
give regard to issues of child protection and make provision for the disclosure
of abuse.

10.Aim to ensure
that all research involving those who lack capacity, or who during the research
project come to lack capacity, must be approved by an ‘appropriate body’
operating under the Mental Capacity Act, 2005

To conclude, when conducting a research, it’s important for
social and criminological researchers to look at ethical problems that may
arise during the research.  Without
analysing the ethical issues that may occur during the research it could result
to the outcome of the research to be at risk. Also, Therefore, it’s important that
everything is done correctly and accurately so that the outcome of the research
is positive. Taking the participants into consideration characteristics is also
crucial before carrying out the research especially children, vulnerable individuals,
disabled individuals and the elderly because they will not be able to take part
specific research experiments.


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