How should the web-resource be used?
The website has been constructed such that each section forms a coherent whole. You can either navigate your way through the various component parts of the website in order to develop your overall understanding of ethical issues in social science research OR you can dip in and out of various component parts that are of specific interest.
Drop-down boxes provide additional material and case studies that you can choose to access if you wish.
Where relevant, sections also contain critical stances taken by some researchers in relation to specific aspects of ethics and research. It is important to recognise that these represent particular points of view that others may dispute. They are included in this web resource in order to demonstrate that approaches to ethics as process or practice in research should not be accepted uncritically. Whilst all social researchers should demonstrate a commitment to good ethical practice in the development, undertaking, analysis and dissemination of their research, it is important to recognise that ethical review processes and debates around ethical practice are constantly evolving.
Please Note …
We wish to make it clear that whilst the resource is designed to help researchers find a path through the ‘ethical maze’, it is not exhaustive. Rather it seeks to summarise basic principles for ethical practice by social scientists. Departures from these principles should be the result of deliberation and not lack of knowledge. Researchers should be aware of the ethical issues that may arise throughout the research process and take responsibility for their own ethical practice.
The resource does not, therefore, provide a set of guidelines for resolving ethical dilemmas, rather it recognises that it will be necessary to make decisions and choices on the basis of knowledge, principles and values, and the (often conflicting) interests of those involved.