300 W2 Discussion

Ethical Study

  1. Find a peer-reviewed article that directly relates to your research question
  2. Describe in detail 1 of the 4 categories of ethical conduct from the readings and how the research did or did not meet the particular standards in this ethical category.
  3. Describe how the ethical issue you just discussed helps you think about ethics about your own research project for this class.

In summary, for this assignment,  you are going to do: 1) Find, 2) Describe, and 3) Apply.

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Getting Started: How to Plan a Social Research Study
Chapter 2

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Picking a Study Topic
A topic appropriate for social research is one that
you generalize
about social patterns
that operate in aggregates and
are empirically observable.

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Picking a Study Topic
Generalize – the topic is beyond one isolated unique instance; it is likely to reappear and applies to a broad scope of people, places, times or events.
Social pattern – the topic has regularity or structure/form describing interconnections among events, situations or relationships in a condensed way.

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Picking a Study Topic
Aggregates – the topic applies to a collection of people or other units (e.g., families, businesses, schools, hospitals, or neighborhoods).
Empirically observable – the topic appears in the observable world in a way that we can detect and observe it using our senses (sight, sound, touch, smell) directly or indirectly.

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Picking a Study Topic
Research Proposal = a detailed plan for conducting a study on a specific research question, that includes a literature review and specific technique to be used.

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Conducting a Review Past Studies
Literature Review = a summary of previously conducted studies on the same topic or research question.

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Conducting a Review Past Studies
A Literature Review Search Plan:
Evaluate resources
Select and narrow the topic
Learn to use literature search tools
Plan to locate and scan read articles
Allow time to extract the major findings
Final Stage—synthesize

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Conducting a Review Past Studies
Where do you find the research literature?
A Special Type of Periodical: Scholarly Journals
Peer-reviewed = A scholarly publication that has been independently evaluated for its quality and merits by several knowledgeable professional researchers and found acceptable.
Article Search tool = an online service or publication that provides an index, abstract database with which you can quickly search for articles in numerous scholarly journals by topic, author or subject area.

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Conducting a Review Past Studies
Where do you find the research literature?
Periodicals
Popularized social science magazines for general public
Practitioner advice/opinion/news
Opinion magazines
“Mass market” or “trade” magazines for general public
Scholarly Journals
Peer-reviewed = A scholarly publication that has been independently evaluated for its quality and merits by several knowledgeable professional researchers and found acceptable.

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Conducting a Review Past Studies

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Conducting a Review Past Studies

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Conducting a Review Past Studies
Where do you find the research literature?
Books
Monographs
Readers
Edited Collections
Dissertations
Government Documents
Policy Reports
Presented Papers

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How to Conduct a Literature Review: A Six Step Process
STEP 1: Refine the Topic
Go from research question to narrowed topic
STEP 2: Design Your Search
Decide on the review’s extensiveness
Decide which article search tools to use
Decide how to record bibliographic information and take notes
STEP 3: Locate the Research Reports
Articles in scholarly journals
Books
Other outlets

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How to Conduct a Literature Review: A Six Step Process
STEP 4: Read & Take Notes on the Reports Found
Create source and content files
What to record in notes
STEP 5: Organize Notes, Synthesize & Write the Review
STEP 6: Create the Reference List

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Focusing On A Research Question
Inductive = research in which you start many specific observations and move toward general ideas or theory to capture what they show.
Deductive = research in which you start with a general idea or theory then move to test it by looking at specific observations.

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Focusing On A Research Question

IDEAS
Observed
data
IDEAS
Observed
data

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The Research Proposal
Research Proposal = a detailed plan for conducting a study on a specific research question, that includes a literature review and specific techniques to be used.

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The Research Proposal
A Proposal for Quantitative or Qualitative Research
1. When do you focus the research question?
2. To what universe can you generalize from a study’s findings?
Universe = a broad category of cases or units to which the study findings apply.

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The Research Proposal
A Proposal for Quantitative or Qualitative Research
3. Which type of research path do you follow?
Linear path = a relatively fixed sequence of steps in one forward direction, with little repeating, moving directly to a conclusion.
Nonlinear path = advancing without fixed order that often requires successive passes through previous steps and moves toward a conclusion indirectly.

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The Research Proposal
A Proposal for Quantitative or Qualitative Research
4. What do you examine?
Variable = a feature of a case or unit that represents multiple types, values or levels.
Independent Variable = the variable of factors, forces, or conditions acting on another variable to produce an effect or change in it.
Dependent Variable = the variable influenced by and changes as an outcome another variable.
Intervening Variable = a variable that comes between the independent and dependent variable in a causal relationship.

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The Research Proposal
A Proposal for Quantitative or Qualitative Research
4. What do you examine?
Hypothesis = a statement about the relationship of two (or more) variables yet to be tested with empirical data.
Null hypothesis = a hypothesis that there is no relationship between two variables, that they do not influence one another.

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The Research Proposal
A Proposal for Quantitative or Qualitative Research
5. How to Look for Patterns in the Data
Quantitative data: rearrange, examine, and discuss numbers by using charts, tables and statistics to see patterns.
Qualitative data: rearrange, examine, discuss textual or visual data.

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The Research Proposal

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The Research Proposal
A Proposal for Quantitative or Qualitative Research
6. What type of explanation will you use?
Causal explanation = a type of research explanation in which you identify one or more causes for an outcome, and place cause and effect in a larger framework.
Has three elements:
Time order
Association
Alternative causes ruled out

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The Research Proposal
A Proposal for Quantitative or Qualitative Research
6. What type of explanation will you use?
Grounded Theory = ideas and themes that are built up from data observation.
7. What are the Units of Analysis in your study?
Unit of Analysis = the case or unit on which you measure variables or other characteristics.

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The Research Proposal
A Proposal for Quantitative or Qualitative Research
8. What is the Level of Analysis of your study?
Level of Analysis = The level of reality to which explanations refer, micro to macro.
Micro-Level: small-scale (a few friends, a small group)
Macro-Level: large-scale (entire civilizations or a major structure of a society).
Warning: Avoid Spuriousness
Spuriousness = when two variables appear to be causally connected but in reality, they are not because an unseen third factor is the true cause.

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The Research Proposal

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Ethics: Doing the Right Thing
Chapter 3

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The Ethical Imperative

Protecting research participants and upholding boarder human rights.
Gaining knowledge and finding a clear answer to a research question.
Balancing two priorities when doing research

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The Ethical Imperative
Researchers have a strong moral and professional obligation to act ethically at all times and in all situations
Scientific Misconduct
Scientific misconduct = violating basic and generally accepted standards of honest scientific research, such as research fraud and plagiarism.

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The Ethical Imperative
Scientific Misconduct
Research fraud = to invent, falsify or distort study data or to lie about how a study was conducted.
Plagiarism = using another person’s words or ideas without giving them proper credit and instead passing them off as your own.
Unethical but Legal

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The Ethical Imperative
Unethical but Legal
Typology Of Legal And Ethical Actions In Research
LEGAL ETHICAL
Yes No
Yes Moral and Legal Legal but Immoral
No Illegal but Moral Immoral and Illegal

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Ethical Issues Involving Research Participants
The Origin of Ethical Principles with Humans
Protect Research Participants from Harm
Avoid Harm To Research Participants
Physical harm 
Psychological abuse, stress, or loss of self-esteem  
Legal harm

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Ethical Issues Involving Research Participants
Participation Must be Voluntary and Informed
Principle of Voluntary Consent = never force anyone to participate in a research study. Participants should explicitly and voluntarily agree to participate.
Informed Consent = An agreement in which participants state they are willing to be in a study and they know what the research procedure will involve.

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Ethical Issues Involving Research Participants
Limits to Using Deception in Research
Deception is Acceptable Only Within Strict Limits
it has a clear, specific methodological purpose
use it only to the minimal degree necessary and for shortest time;
obtain informed consent and do not misrepresent any risks;
always debrief.
Avoid coercion.

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Ethical Issues Involving Research Participants
Privacy, Anonymity, and Confidentiality
Privacy has two components:
Anonymity = not connecting a participant’s name or identifying details to information collected about him or her.
Confidentiality = holding information in confidence or not making it known to the public.

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Ethical Issues Involving Research Participants
Confidentiality Anonymity
YES NO
YES Gather data so it is impossible for anyone to link it to any name and release findings in aggregate form. Privately link details about a specific participant to a name, but only publicly release findings in aggregate form
NO Release details about a specific participant to the public, but withhold the name and details that might allow someone to trace back to the person. Unethical
Reveal publicly details about a person with his/her name

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Ethical Issues Involving Research Participants
Extra Protections for Special Populations
Special populations = people lacking the cognitive competency or full freedom to give true informed consent.
Formal Protections for Research Participants
Institutional Review Board (IRB) = a committee of researchers and community members that oversees, monitors, and reviews the impact of research procedures on human participants.
Code of Ethics = A written, formal set of professional standards that provides guidance when ethical questions arise in practice.

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Ethics and the Sponsors of Research
Arriving at Particular Findings
Limits on How to Conduct Studies
Suppressing Findings
Whistle-blowing = when a researcher sees unethical behavior and after unsuccessful attempts to get superiors to end it, goes public to expose the wrongdoing.

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Political Influences on Research
Political concerns can influence and interfere with the research process.

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Value-Free and Objective Research
Multiple Meanings
Value free has two meanings:
research without any prior assumptions or theory,
research free of influence from an individual researcher’s personal prejudices/beliefs.
Objective has two meanings as well:
focus only on what is external or visible,
follow clear and publicly accepted research procedures and not haphazard, invented personal ones.

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Value-Free and Objective Research
Alternative Goals
Devoid of Values

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