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Ethical Issues in Social research

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Social research raises some important ethical issues for the researcher.

It is important that the research process does not harm the in anyway and that respondents should give their .

Covert Research
Covert research by its nature means that the participant is being . The BSA (British Sociological Association) suggests that covert research should only be used when there is no clear and when the research is vital to the further advancement of knowledge.

Sociologists need to maintain the of their respondents. In some instances revealing the identity of the participant might cause adverse effects on their career prospects, personal or safety.

Social researchers need to remain and detached. If they are sponsored or funded by an external agency or business they should not let this influence either the research process itself or the of their results

The Law
Sociologists of areas such as crime and often witness and in the cases of participant observation may even take part in activities. Such research is fraught with ethical dilemmas. It is important perhaps to whether the importance of the knowledge gained from the research outweighs the harm caused by illegality.