Evolution of Ethical Dilemma and Value
conflicts in Social Science Research: an
Anil K Gupta and Ram Kumar, IIMA 1986
Evolution of Ethical Dilemma and Value Conflicts
- Moral boundaries and expedient behaviors
- Professional values vis-a-vis
- Value and objectivity : Social Science Versus natural sciences
- Are conflicts necessary:from "criticism to commitment"
2. Situating Research : politics of paradigmatic persuasions,
methodological instruments and assumption
- Autonomy of researcher vis-a-vis peer pressures
- Dilemma of 'Is' , 'ought' and 'possible'
- Cultural roots of perception
- Power of researcher over researched; defining respondents and
limits of their responses
- Means - end controversy
- Methodological Blinkers:
- Consent of researcher
- Convert/overt collection of data
- Deception/Manipulation in self identification and purpose
of outcome of research.
3. Role of Researcher and choice of research problem/paradigm
- Sponsored research
- research in one's own country vis-a-vis foreign countries
- consultancy research
- advocacy research
- discriminative research vis-a-vis the researched/subjects/
4. Why Research : The purpose, use, risks and Chances
- Responsibility of researcher
- Dissemination of findings
- Risks to the researcher and the researched
- Interventionist research vis-a-vis comprehension research;
is research without intervention possible?
- Policy research : Short versus long term, sectoral versus
intersectoral implications-Choice of interfaces;
5. Ethical Deviance : Individual/group/profession/
- homeostatic limits of deviance
- from deviance to dissidence and from dissidence to
6. Towards consensus on 'Code of conduct' or conduct of
EVOLUTION OF ETHICAL DILEMMA AND VALUE CONFLICTS
- "General decision making is a tortuous process, since each
event is a convoluted and almost endless labyrinth of
considerations and commitments. A simple shift in perspective or
an unexpected twist of fate can alter one's entire set of
responsibilities and obligations. Guilty knowledge and dirty
hands are at the heart of urban field work experience.
Recognition of this field work is necessary if a field work is to
function effectively and morally. Awareness of the context of
research can prevent paralysis as well as overzealousness in the
field." (Fetterman 1983 : p 222)
(1) -Causes of sudden rise in concern in ethics:?
- peasantry (respondents), students, younger anthropolo gists
etc. (Huizer, 1983 : p 1)
(2) -Definition of multiplex (Sieber, 1982 : p 150)
- Quotations by (Maiey and Thyrber, 1968 and Kahil Gibran)
- Definitions of human subjects (Pool, 1980 : p 60)
- And no field research whether a sample survey, an
observational study or even the secondary analysis of existing
data, is immune to such ethical questions as informed consent,
harm resulting from the research findings, and policy
recommendations (Warwick : 316)
- Why ethics is needed? (Reissman and Siluert, 1967 : p 1)
- Ethics deals with the questions of moral goodness or evil
and with the proper standards for human action (Warwick, 1983 : p
Researcher's Value Neutrality to Respondents
- Field work in contract ethnography must be conducted at an
accelerated pace in a much shorter period of time than
traditional field work. This is both physically and mentally
demanding. Continuous immersion in the personal and professional
problems of informants can be emotionally draining as well.
Fetlerman, 1983: 221.
- Kobben (1967: 46) reported of his Surinam field work: "Since
an ethnographer studies people and not insects, his field work
also causes emotions in himself. Personally I lived under great
psychological stress and felt little of the proverbial
peacefulness of `country life'. Few books touch on the
subjects; but I know that the same is quite true of quite a
number of other field workers. Perhaps it is even a sine quo non
for field work." (in Fetlerman, 1983: 221).
- Goal and Moral (in warfare), (Freud, 1969: XIII).
- Value ladden context of sociological research (Denzin, 1970:
p 331-2), (Macluer in Kamaraju 1972: p 2), (Greene, 1970: p 278),
(Krishan Kumar, 1971: p 1); (Durkhein, 1938: p 192), (Parets,
1937: p 545), (Weber in Krishan Kumar: p 3).
- Value in social sciences and ethics (Greene, 1970: p 280);
(Sieber, 1982: pp 149-152); (Harsanyi, 1985: p 123 in Paul et al,
- Value judgments and its control in social science research
(Krishan Kumar, 1971: p 1).
- Biases arising due to valuation in value-free discipline
(Krishan Kumar, 1971: p 5).
- A state of receptive absent-mindedness for value free social
science research (Rowan, 1980: p 81).
- Planners' commitment to agency and other citizens for
leakage of information.
- Why research? (Huizer, 1973 : p 2)
- Politics refers to interactions revolving around power,
influence and authority. Research is political to the extent
that it affects the ability of individuals or groups to impose
their will, to pursue their interests or to be seen as legitimate
In the context of policy selmount mites of gatton a fear has been
expressed "by the end the majesty of social science researchers
should be conducted under contract of Govt. & other agencies who
relevant policy making."
(Wenger 1987:? This book provides at a view on agency or policy
making boders on other hand)
Relationship between researchers on one hand and fun along
Social Sciences and Natural Sciences Comparison
- Motion of national science (instead of international
science) is ridiculous. (Varsowsky, 1967 : p 22).
- Edward Sampson's naturalistic conception of science with
facts appearing in "abstract, several and universal forms",
(Miller, 1980 : p 68).
- Use of mathematical models for research in social sciences -
Hazardous, with false sense of objectivity and hiding valuation
of social scientists. (Krishan Kumar, 1971 : p 11)
- "The cannons of scientific enquiry require that a social
scientist must demonstrate the same type of `detachment' or
`ethical neutrality' which a natural scientist displays towards
his subject matters" (ibid : p 3).
- Variance in observation of social scientist will ever remain
(Denzin, 1970 : p 341).
- Science and its commitments for accuracy in research and
rapid and direct use of its findings on promoting certain
practical aims (Bulmer and Warwick, 1983 : p 353).
- Social science research should keep abreast with changing
social conditions (Miller, 1980 : p 68).
Situating Research : Politics of paradigmatic
Persuations, methodological instruments and assumptions
- "Political and military warfare methods aim at weaker point
of enemy and social science methods striking at strongest points
of enemy (i.e. assumptions)" (In Joshi 1986 : p 155 from gramsci
1971 : pp 432-433)
Autonomy of researcher vis-a-vis peer pressures
- Discourage a scientist because his findings contradicted
ideology and popular sentiment of the decade (Hartman and
Hedblom, 1982 : p 348)
- Adverse consequences of lack of intellectual independence in
social science research (Joshi, 1986 : p 140)
- Challenges to social scientists to tackle social problems
(Joshi, 1986 : p 149)
- Promote social scientists from lower class in rural areas
(Joshi, 1986 : pp 150-51)
- Politicization of social research and government
intervention (ibid pp 152-53)
- Barriers for Scientists - If research is to contribute in
solving the human problems,(a) Government must accept the
political scientists as a partner in decision making.(b)
Reduction in the barriers to his entry into inner circles of the
decision making process.(Frankel, Mark S)
- Consequences of Barriers to the freedom of Scientists (a)
Loss in scientist's ability to acquire and disseminate the
information freely.(b) Robs the public and government of reliable
and accurate data needed to assess the effectiveness and fairness
of public programmes.(ibid.)
- Responsibility of Government : Independent and Critical
Research is responsibility of Government that (a) Government has
to its citizens (b) Government owes to itself.(ibid.)
- Accountability of Social Researcher : Social scientists at
present are held publicly accommodate by the federal government
for their research with human subjects but exercise very little
freedom, and without the exercise of professional discretion
leads itself to political coercion and harassment.(Gelliher).
And several years ago I (Galliher, 1973) suggested that the
American Sociological Association to alter its Code of Ethics as
to support the right of socioligists to conduct research on the
behavior of those in public positions where they are accountable
to all citizens. Such calls for accountability do not
necessarily assume that public officials are inherently evil but
merely that there high position gives them power which can be
abused. Publicly, social scientists have not objected to the
general idea of such research, but simply ignored it. The
American Sociological Association has disregarded my suggestion
for altering the Code of Ethics. Although devoted to ethical
problems is social science research, a recent issue of The
American Sociologist(August, 1978) did not touch on the subject
(researching the publicly accountable) although the sixteen
contributors included some of the most prominent scholars
associated with the social science study of ethics. Given their
traditional concerns with more individualistic issues (Kelman,
1972), one can understand why psychologists might overlook power
and public accountability, even in discussions of the
relationship between power and research ethics, but clearly it is
within the purview of anthropology, social science and sociology.
A hint as to why avoidance takes place is in the controversy
found in the report of the American Sociological Association
Committee of Professional Ethics. In drafting the Association's
Code of Ethics the committee recognized some areas of "unfinished
business" which were "impossible to resolve":
To what extent can public figures claim the same rights of
privacy as ordinary citizens? To what extent does the
injection about the confidentiality of research?... Clearly,
much more thought and analysis must be devoted to such
questions, and others as well (American Sociologist,
Dilemma of 'Is' 'ought' and 'possible'
- Weber - "An empirical science can't tell anyone what he
should do - but rather what he can do and in other circumstances
what he wished to do" (in Kamaraju, 1972 : p2)
- Distinction between `is' and `ought' (Nelson, 1978 : p 7),
(Cassell, 1981 : p 167)
- "Socially desirable and morally right" varies from region to
region (Agrawal, forthcoming; p 11)
The very cultural ethos is at variance from one linguistic region
to another linguistic region. What is socially acceptable and
morally right in one region becomes socially undewirable and
ethically sinful in another region. This is well reflected in the
attitudes of the Regional Censor Board of Film Certification of
the country set up to preview films in different states. There
are ample evidences to support the view, that what was considered
offensive or vulgar in a film from one region is considered as
natural and an authentic image in another region. The control
and regulations imposed upon the Indian Press and printing is the
oldest and most pervasive to an extent that even a leaflet or
pamphlet must carry the name of the printer and its copies must
be sent to the local authorities. There is no ethical or moral
ground for doing so expect that it must be controlled to minimize
its undesirable effects on the law and order situation.
Cultural Roots of Perception
- Ways of resolving researcher's obligation dilemma to
respondents : ethical absolutists and ethical relativists and
differences in their positions (Denzin, 1970 : pp 333-34)
- Social adjustments with technological changes in USA (Adams,
1967 : p 18)
The view of United States anthropologists in this period was
congruent with those in their own society. To change a society
meant that any adjustments should be minimal. In the development
of the United States, technological changes forged ahead, and
the society made successive adjustments to these technological
innovations. Under such conditions of technologicalprimacy,
social development was generally perceived as a matter of
adjustment to the "realities" of the situation. Social
innovation not directly related to such adjustments was often
labeled as being "socialist", or "communist". "The notion of
"laissez fairs," an intellectual by product of the industrial
revolution, had by the first quarter of the twentieth century
become an ideology.
Another strategy of academic radicals is to cite repeatedly some
modest piece of evidence, or the work of a well-known person.
While ignoring the existence of a mass of contrary empirical
evidence. Each such citation can then be cited in a later
article in another journal, thus accumulating what appears to be
a considerable support for the expectancy hypothesis. Few
readers ever bother to check the original research cited in this
way. For example, one hypothesis claims that the reason boys in
elementary grades read less well than girls is that teachers
expect boys to read less well. A study by Michael Palardy
several decades ago is widely cited in the literature as proving
this claim, though an examination of the article itself reveals
that in the analysis of variance of reading scores in the subject
classrooms the main effect of sex differences does not exceed
chance. A review within the past year of the evidence on
teacher-expectancy effects, by Wendy Gollub and sloan,
simply ignored the mass of contrary evidence from controlled
studies and reported a few ethnographic studies like Rist's as
conclusive. The journal headed the article with the line:
"Evidence of teacher bias continue to accumulate."
- Male dominance in society and research works (Miller 1980 :
p 78-79 and Margret Mead's work) ciation of some modest piece of
evidence or work of well known while ignoring mass of existing
contrary empirical evidence.
- Research ethics in different contexts of cultural
differences of professionals (Hamnett et al; 1984 : p 6)
- Biases against Marxism in Indian research institutes (Joshi,
1986 : pp 155-56; (S. Gopal, 1978 : p 74)
- Marxism in social science and its flows (Sayer,1984 : p 217)
- Affect of colonization on social science research, dominance
of western scientists & west oriented problems (Joshi, 1986: p
- National policy for social science (Ibid, p 147).
- Effect of institution builders' personality on the
institutions' scientific spirits and independence (Ibid, p 158-
- There is a difference between being an academic and an
activist; however, academic study does not preclude advocacy. In
fact, often anything less represents an abdication of one's
responsibility as a social scientist (see in Berreman, 1968; and
Gaugh, 1968). It should, however, be acknowledged that the
researcher functions as a public relations person or politician
in this arena rather than as a researcher.
- Political role of managers/planners (Howe and Kaufman, 1982
: p 26).
- Ethics and role conflicts of a social researcher's role as a
researcher, clinical and personal roles (Libson, 1984 : p 350)
- Differences in ethical dimensions for lawyer and researcher
(Magel, 1982 : pp 68-69)
The three roles overlap each other and social intervention
is effected by these roles. But the most important function of
social scientist as a social critic with a sense of purpose and
- Social scientists' three fold role : As analysts,observers
and interventionist (Dube, 1982 : pp 5-6).
The rewards of social sciences, and its fringe benefits, can
be seizable if one keeps on the right side of the social
science establishment, which in its turn has visible and
invisible linkages with the political establishment. The
social scientists are loud in their protest when it comes to
the question of commitment to those in power or to an
ideology. They must know that in a substantial measure
their innocence is untenable. A great deal of Western
social science is oriented towards maintenance of status
quo; so is a large part of Third World social science.
Many social scientists are positive in their affirmation
that their commitment is to their science. Such a claim
assumes a degree of unity in the discipline which does not
exist in reality.
The question of commitment must lead us to a serious heart-
searching. Are we promoting, through the social sciences,
our individual and collective self-interest as social
scientists? Are we not, for a variety of reasons,
acquiescent towards the prevailing power and its ideology:
Are the assumptions of the social sciences
Power of Researcher over researched; defining respondents and
limits of their responses
-(a) Prof. K Mathur (in Personnel Communication) once raised the
issues of status of an officer who worked on lower level official
in discipline of Public Administration. By working on top
bureaucrats and powerful people, do researchers star reflecting
some of the power just like journalist report on moods of elite
vis-a-vis on the problems of underdogs.
- Study of rich people/superordinates/public officials
(Galliher, 1980 : pp 298-302) - busy, difficult to study.
- Research on powerful - impossible (Galliher, 1980: p 300)
- Who should be held accountable (top or lower
level) (ibid : p 300)
- Do public officials lose private rights when performing
public roles (Galliher, 1980 : p 300)
- Is everybody (equally?) accountable to social scientist?
(Galliher, 1980 : p 300)
- Status of social scientists vis-a-vis that of rich subjects
(Galliher, 1980 : p 302)
- Powerful people so confident; self-righteous that they
usually talk freely (Galliher, 1980 : p 303)
- Superordinates do not deserve same degree and type of
consideration as deprived and powerless individuals (galliher,
1980 : p 304)
- Study on the political and ethical issues arising when
researchers from the one part of society, particularly the
dominant group attempts to study other groups, particularly
minority groups in the same society (Warwick, 1983 : p 316)
- The subjects seen as victim and experimenter as brutalised
with suspicion and rejection (Mead, 1963 : p 374)
- Psychiatrist need not himself become tempted to
understand a demented patient (Nagel 1961 in Kamaraju, 1972 : p
There is no warrant for the belief that the social scientist
cannot understand a mental state without experiencing the
imputed psychological state in his own mind. Nagel rightly
states that while understanding a demented patient, a
psychiatrist need not himself become demented. Hayek has argued
that the social sciences deal with the relations between man and
man. They are concerned with the purposes or choices in human or
social actions. "The objects like a hammer or a barometer cannot
be referred to "objective facts...... and they cannot be defined
in physical terms." Also physical objects like a hammer or a
barometer cannot be referred to "objective facts" but only to
what people think about them. "Careful logical analysis of these
concepts will show that they all express relationships between
several terms, of which one is the acting or thinking person, the
other some desired or imagined effect, and the third a thing in
the ordinary sense."11
- Subjects demands in lieu of their cooperation| (Denzin, 1970
: pp 325-26)
- Inequality in relationships of researchers - researched
gestures of reciprocity only cannot help? (Zin )
- Political researchers - barrier to his research in
governmental setting and denial of government to accept his role
in decision making due to which losses to researcher's knowledge
and public's right to know about government working (Frankel, pp
There is a more fundamental question, however. On what grounds
are we to assume that the poor and powerless have more innate
goodness than the powerful and the wealthy? This assumption is,
almost as common among conservative social scientists as among
activists. What empirical evidence do we have for this? Is
goodness, in this sense, one of the benefits that the
disadvantaged receive in exchange for the lack of power and
resources in all systems of distributive justice?
- Blind following of god father figures in social research by
the new coming researchers. These god fathers "throw some crumbs
to their followers and keep most of choicest dishes for
themselves" (Dube, 1982 : p 8)
- Unequal treatment on the ethical grounds "to give the poor
the same degree of freedom of choice in decision making the more
affluent have always had"
- The technical error of ignoring significant variables
may lend to a moral error-the perception of those
studied as less than fully human. Thus, those who blame
victims for the effects of victimization, have been
accused of racism, depersonalization, and the misuse of
evolutionary theory to present certain groups as "less
developed" (e.g., Willis 1969; Valentine 1968). Appell
(1980) describes how social scientists may the ethical
discourse to redefine the limits of their moral
communities and notes that when the researched are
placed outside the researches' moral communities,
observers are licensed to act in ways that would be
otherwise considered unethical. Lying, spying, and
unexamined blame-placing ate justified, when those studied
are conceptualized as subhuman 9by conventional
sentimentalist) or inhuman (by unconventional).
The technical error of sentimentality leads to biased
ethnography, presenting a partial and distorted image of
reality. The related moral error has a more serious result:
useless ethnography, so biased that it cannor serve as a
reliable guide to action.
- Moral error in fieldwork i.e. to perceive respondents as
less than fully human (Cassell, 1981 : p 167)
- Anthropological researches includes only poor and deprived
masses for researchers self-gains.
- Both researcher and respondents know about fundamental
contradictions inherent in field work. So respondents may deny
his presence and create emotional, ethical and methodological
problem| (Bleek, 1979 : pp 200-201)
- Three assumptions in field work with poor informants due to
economic inequality (Binsbergen, 1979 : p 206)
- Effect of informant's perception of researchers' motives and
actions on data collection (Rabben, 1984 : p 81)
- Generally field workers have little power over informants
"Wax and Cassell 1979 in Wax and Cassell 1981; 225p)
- Researchers' power may cause indifferent informants to
submit to be researched unwantedly (p 225)
- Bases of asymmetry or parity of research relations (p 224)
- Research modalities and their ethical problems i.e. being of
researcher more powerful to make people be studied or otherwise
- "Use of informants like `white rats' of lab science" : A
paradigm of research of human subjects (Wax and Cassell, 1981 :
- Active involvement of social scientists with respondents :
may diminish their scientific value
bring some benefits to respondents
bring some more quite valuable scientific insights
(Huizer, 1973 : p 6)
- Research be reoriented towards the overall power structure
(ibid, pp 7-8)
- Human relations in management organization:
a) Human organization approach by Taylor (1920) - management
research to get maximum job from workers without and incentive
for it (pp 69-70)
b) Followers - leaders relationship of above kind (p 71)
c) Orientation of management research towards workers' role
in decision making (Miller, 1980 : pp 69-72)
Because plausible scientific evidence of causation in
the social sciencer has been difficult to establish, the
causal flow of relationships between phenomena can often
be interpreted as going either way, depending on the
world view the interpreter fancies. For over a
generation, many of the dominant explanations for the
state of thing in our important institutions were
generated within a liberal framework and its assumptions
about causation. Is the crime rate among those who have
been to tough prisons higher than among those who have
not? Then prisons obviously teach people to be
criminals. (But perhaps the reverse is true, and the
worst criminals are more likely to end up in the tough
prisons.) Do satisfied workers have bosses who
supervise loosely? Then if we teach bosses not to
supervise closely we can increase the number of happy
workers, the liberal explanation runs. (Or, is
supervisory style a reaction to happy or unhappy work
groups?) Do children who don't get proper breakfasts
have difficulty in learning as advocates of federal food
programms insist? (Or, are children with learning
difficulties likely to be members of families who do not
provide either pressures to learn in school, or good
breakfasts?) Do children's positive views of themselves
derive from positive evaluations by adults around them?
(or, do adults feel positively about children with
strong egos, hence high self-esteem?)
The contrast in fundamental belief among these dual
statements of causal hypotheses samples a familiar
conflict between the confidence that we can change
people by manipulating their social and small group
environment, and the acceptance of limits to change
limits imposed by individual capabilities as those
inherent in the human animal.
There is creditable evidence, to be sure, that intense
control of environment over long periods of time can
change people's behavior, though not, unfortunately, in
the direction of making them just, good, and
cooperative. The beliefs of social activists about causation
seem to depend instead on the softest of stimuli, the
expectations of others: supervisors, teachers, work group.
As the tools of social research and quantitative analysis
grow more sophisticated however, it has become more
difficult to support the soft cause against the hard
There never was very much empirical evidence for one of
the links in this theory, the claim that worker
satisfaction resulted in higher productivity. By the
1960's a good deal of evidence had in fact accumulated
to the contrary; either "satisfaction" and
"productivity" were independent or, as some data
indicated, productive workers felt satisfied because
they had been productive. The more important question,
however, is that of managerial style, because an entire
generation of managers in industry and social services
had been trained to believe that managerial interest in
the self-enhancement of the worker was far more
important in getting work done than the state of the
labor market, pay, the calculus of self interest,
managerial pressures for standards, or any of the other
realities of the workplace.
Aaron Lowin and James craig developed a most ingenious
experimental test of the reverse hypothesis: that the
productivity of subordinates influences the style of the
manager. The findings neatly support the conclusion that
the causal direction usually ignored, namely, that
followers affect leaders, is at least as important as
the human relations assumption.
But new techniques of time-series analysis can easily
handle the type of data collected by the Hawthorne
researchers, and Richard Franke and James Kaul recently
dug the measures out of dusty files in the Hawthorne
plant and came up with answers sharply at variance with
the original conclusions. During the period of the
experiment, the Relay group increased their production
from 50 units per worker per hour to nearly 72 units.
Franke and Kaul's equations account for 97 percent of that
increase 79 percent is due to managerial discipline and
additional 14 percent to economic depression; and scheduled
rest times explain 4 percent, As they observe with
understandable asperity in their report, "In the social
sciences-particularly where complex beliefs and processes
are involved-there seems to be no substitute for
Empirical social science does not play any favorites-nor can
we expect it to. The human relations in management school
was fiercely attacked by keftist abd labor-oriented
sociologists who argued that workers would not or should not
be gullied by social skilled managers, and that only the
hard affect workers. It has turned out that conditions, and
power could affect workers. It has turned out that recent
social research, casting doubt on one of the cornerstone
researches supporting the human relations in management
position, is consistent with this critique.
Another strategy of academic radicals is to cite
repeatedly some modest piece of evidence, or the work of
a well-known person, while ignoring the existence of a
mass of contrary empirical evidence. Each such citation
can then be cited in a later article in another journal,
thus accumulating what appears to be a considerable
support for the expectancy hypothesis. Few readers ever
bother to check the original research cited in this way.
For example, one hypothesis claims that the reason boys
in elementary grades read less well than girls is that
teachers expect boys to read less well. A study by
Michael Palardy several decades ago is widely cited in
the literature as proving this claim, though an
examination of the article itself reveals that in the
analysis of variance of reading scores in the subject
classrooms the main effect of sex differences does not
exceed chance. A review within the past year of the
evidence on evidence on teacher-expectancy effects, by
Wendy Gollub and Ethics Sloan, simply ignored the mass
of contrary evidence from controlled studies and
reported a few ethnographic studies like Tist's as
conclusive. The journal headed the article with the
line: "Evidence of teacher bias continues to
A different and a much more respectable strategy for
academic mythmaking involves doing very careful
quantative analysis, finding a very small effect for
expectancy hypothesis, then ignoring the magnitude of
Attribution of a finding to an august or popular
scientist may broaden the mythmaking process. In a
letter in Contemporary Sociology, Steven goldberg notes
that about 90 percent of introductory texts in sociology
begin their sections on sex roles by citing Margaret
Mead's famous study of three primitive scientists.
- A new trend among informants making the anthropologists
upset in their researches : Respondents labels and theories by
respondents (Troffer, 1979 : p 212)
- Reciprocity between subordinates and super-ordinates in
organization (Smith and Carroll, 1984 : p 99)
- Indian social research : Researcher's alienation from have-
nots; use of English language and imposition of bureaucracy in
social sciences (Joshi, 1986 : p 143-44)
Ends - Means Controversy
- Galliher (1980 : p 301) and justify the means
- Debate between Galliher and Warwick (Galliher, 1980 : p 301)
- Do the ends justify the means? (Fetterman, 1983 : p 217)
(Krishan Kumar, 1971 : pp 4-5)
- Weber's `politics as a vocation' (1946) is a study of the
moral hazards of a political career. It emphasizes the use of
morally dubious means in the attainment of "good ends". The
parallel between the context of contemporary research and the
political environment that Weber discussed highlights this moral
hazard for contract research. Weber's term was an "ethic of
responsibility" (1946 : p 120) - (Fetterman, 1983 : p 222)
- Value conflicts Vs. ends in policy analysis (Cohen and
Peris, 1982 : p 65)
The ethics of policy research
Let me conclude with a few comments on the ethical
problems posed by KAP surveys. The core problem has to
do with the relationship between personal or
institutional mission ans the craft of research. What
standards should apply to research conducted in
sensitive areas of public policy, especially when the
researchers themselves and their sponsors would like to
see a certain pattern of results ererage? Warwick and
Pettigrew (1982) suggest a number of ethical guidelines
that apply to this and similar situations. They
suggest, above all, that social scientists adhere
strictly to the standards of their craft, whatever their
oown and their sponsor's value convictions. In areas
where they are likely to be tempted to distort the
research process or cut corners to come up with the
desired results they should build in checks against
their own bias. As one specific source of prevention
they should agree from the outset that the data
collected will be open to secondary analysis by others,
and take steps to make such analysis possible. And in
making policy recommendations based on their research,
investigators should consciously try to distinguish
between the empirical and normative bases of their
When the full history of the KAP survey is written it is
likely to emerge as a classical case in which the
failure to seperate personal, professional, and
political agendas created serious threats ti the
integrity of social science. Perhaps its main lesson is
that no one can serve two masters in social research,
espicially when their demands are incompatible.
- No one can serve two masters in social research, especially
when their demands are incompatible (Bulmer and Warwick, 1983 : p
- Means oriented ethics (Howe and Kaufman, 1982 : pp 17-18),
(Cooper, 1971 : p 122)
THE END AND THE MEANS
Julius Roth has argued that there is no clear line to be
drawn between those methods which are covert and those
which are overt. 'Is it moral,' he asks, 'if one gets a
job in a factory to earn tuition and then takes
advantage of the opportunity to carry out a sociological
study, but immoral to deliberately plant oneself in the
factory for the express purpose of observing one's
fellow workers?' By what criteria, we are being asked
would we establish material gain to be a more laudable
motive than the opportunity for research enquiry? Such a
question might be asked, for instance, of Joan Emerson's
observations of gynaecological consultations conducted
by her in the profession of a nurse. Or again, I and
many sociologists spend available Saturday afternoons
observing professional football: as far as we are aware
we hope for skilled and creative performances, an
enjoyable match and possibly a victory for the favoured
side, and are much less motivated to attend matches by
the opportunity to observe crowed behaviour or
interaction between professionals. Invetiably, however,
there are moments when one's observation is guided by
sciological principles and I have even recorded notes
after a match. It would be absurd to announce that
there was a sociologist on the terraces making casual
observations and to explain his purpose and methods.
For those who pay their money at the turnstile
sociological observation is, unlike throwing beer
bottles or running on to the pitch, an acceptable, and
unobtrusive activity. Similarly, pentecostals proclaim
unconditionally that 'All are welcome': my covert
research was my reason for being among the pentecostals
and worship was the form which my behaviour took; while
for others worship was the reason for attendance but no
doubt there were moments, human nature being what it is,
when observation was the form of their behaviour. I
find I cannot attend any religious service without also
behaving at least for some of the time as an observer:
and I am inclined to Roth's view that the distinction
between casual and purposeful observation is both
arbitary and difficult to establish for the purpose of
There remains the possibility that the end justifies the
means and the British Sociological Association allows
covert methods 'where it is not possible to use other
methods to obtain essential data'. In one
interpretation, this argument amounts to an arrogant
claim about the significance of research findings.
Another approach might begin to defend this concession
with the supposition that no situation which in
principle is open to observation? ought not also to be
observable in practice. This view takes various forms
in the literature: for example, there are contentions
that there is an inherent right to know, that knowledge
is superior to ignorance and that sociological knowledge
is a value of such an order that anything which impedes
its achievement is undesirable. At this point the
espousal of sociological knowledge
Right of Primacy
- Right of Primacy of Public Officials (Galliher, 1980: p
- Public officials must realize that lack of privacy arises
out of public roles (Galliher, 1980: 303).
- Do public officials have the same right to privacy as
private citizen? (Galliher, 1980: 304).
- Bennet (1967: 375) many of those who involve right of
privacy are those who have something to hide ..... Their secrets
impinge on the welfare of others and the moral imperative may
demand their exposure (in Galliher, 1980: 305).
- Right to investigate vs. duty to deceive or right to lie
(Behrman, 1981: p 105).
- Right to know and duty to disclose information (Ibid: p 97).
- Privacy of respondents (Denzin, 1970: p 333), (Hurzer, 1973:
p 3-4); (Hekman, 1980: p 356); (Burgess, 1984: p 187).
- Some of the most thorny problems in cross-cultural research
arise around the question of access to the field (Warwick, 1983:
- What standards should govern the researcher's access to the
informants? (Warwick, 1983: 324).
- Critics of positivism in methodology and philosophy of
social sciences (Hekman, 1980: pp 341 & 354).
- Social phenomenology and Alfred Schutz (Ibid, pp 343-5).
- "Wittgenstein's rejection of exploration of `consciousness'
means that ordinary language analysis of social life cann't go
beyond the examination of meanings embodied in ordinary language"
(Ibid: p 355).
- A way out of methodological limitations (Denzin, 1970: 320).
- Comparison of research analysis techniques in present and
past along with multivariate technique (Miller, 1980: p 71).
- Researcher's dilemma of an efficient and true social science
research (Magel, 1982: p 74).
- Detachment of researches (Joshi, 1986: p 141)
- specific features and general process
- study of one discipline from other related
- Ethical problems in methodology concerning individual
morality and professional ethics (Homan ..... 86 ....)
- Conceptual control in narrowly focussed and broadely
focussed researches (Wax & Cassell, 1981: p 225).
- Interviewing and biasness (Bulmer & Warwick, 1983: p 358).
- Politically useful data collection and lowering of standards
by researchers (Ibid: p 350).
- Interpretation of data and ethics ( Hartman & Hudblom, 1982:
- Selection of data with desired results only.
- Over extension of researches to other fields (Sayer, 1984:
- Generalization of cultural and political analysis from a
small sample data (Ibid: p 219).
- Ethical problems in critical theory (Ibid: p 232-3).
- Acceptance of a hypothesis by social scientists on the basis
of significant evidence (Richard Rudner and Krimerman, 1969: p
755 in Krishan Kumar, 1971: pp 11-12).
- Decision Driven (Weiss, 1976) approach of policy analysis -
self-deceptive at best and manipulative at worst (Cohen & Paris,
1982: p 67).
- Replicability of research (possible?) (Rabhen, 1984: p 81).
- Feeling of researcher about research and role conflicts or
conflicts of interests in research (Ibid.).
- Ethical dilemma in circulation of research report among
respondents despite renew board's refusal (Jones, 1980: p 102).
- Methodological dilemma in data collection (Fetlerman, 1983:
p 215); (Southrate & Randall: p 54 in Reason & Rowan eds.).
- "New model of enquiry in social sciences research based on
self-study in action of scientists as well as subjects" (Tobert,
p 150 in Ibid).
- Process for making ethical decision (Tgmchuk, 1982: p 167).
- Decision criteria to evaluate what is morally right (Ibid -
(a) Consent of researched
- Consent of Researched (Galliher, 1980: 304) "
- Informed consent in medical research (Freund, 1969: XI).
- About experimental design and methodology (Ibid, X).
- Principle of voluntary consent (Bulmer ....), (Abrahamson,
1983: pp 42-4).
(b) Covert/Overt collection of data
- Unauthorised use of data but for public use or in public
interest (Galliher, 1980: 299).
Not necessary, ordinary method can suffice (Madev, Wiseman,
Warwick in Galliher, 1980: 302).
- Much of the information can indeed be obtained through quest
methods - self critical number of Galliher (1980: 302).
- Galliher 1980: 306 (Is there ever a justification for Social
Scientists deceiving any research subject?) - under what
conditions, where, ?
- On ethical grounds covert methods are criticized for
violating the principle of informed consent ..... (Bulmer,
1982: p 252).
- "Covert method affect quality of data in iunknown ways"
(Bulmer, 1982: p 252).
- "Apparently closed or inaccessible milieure such as the
mafia (Ianni & Ianni, 1972) or British Civil Service (Helco
& Wildovsky, 1974) may be successfully studied" (Bulmer,
- William Caudill (1958: XV) - provided a rare comparison
between the covert study and overt study of the same group
(Bulmer, 1982: 252-3).
- "Total honesty is characteristic of very few types of social
relation, relationship (of. Bok, 1978) and all field
researches some deception - can covert method be defended on
this ground? (Balmer, 1982: 253).
- Problem of going into a group for participant observation
(Redlich, 1973 in Bulmer: 255).
- "An outsider could be made into an insider, but never the
reverse" (Heilman, 1980: 101 in Balmer: 255).
- Role of teacher in school - to study a community by
researcher (Burges, 1980) - a legitimate professional role
(Bulmer, 1982: 257).
- The over-insider's research: should it be taken like a
covert-outsider's research? (Bulmer, 1982: p 260).
- Conditions for participant observation (..............)
- Advantages of covert methods (Homan ....... 13-15....)
(Bulmer ..... 12....), (A....... 11 .....), (Abrahamson,
1983: p 39).
- Drawbacks of covert methods 9Bulmer ..... 1, 3-6), (Denzin,
1970: p 39).
- "What should be done if an interviewer becomes aware that a
crime will be committed and reporting it will not only
violate confidence and premises but would also destroy
research?" (Hartman & Hedblom, 1982: p 345).
- Covert method - detrimental to personality of researcher as
sneaking tendency may continue (Homan .... 10 ....).
- Covert research project of international importance
(Burgess, 1984: pp 185-8).
- Misuse of data obtained by covert research (Burgess, p 187-
- Anthropologist as a participant observer: Advantages and
disadvantages (Bleek, 1979: p 201).
- Covert research in eyes of Institutional Review Boards
(Hessler & Galliher, 1983: p 36).
(c) Deception/Manipulation in self identification and purpose or
outcome of Research
- Deception - justified in exceptional cases like Nazi
Germany, South Africa etc. (Galliher 17), (Freuman & Sherwood,
1970: p 142).
- Disadvantages - Galliher
- Betrayal of trust (Bulmer 187)
- Harm to subjects (Bulmer 79)
- Danger to peace (Burgess, 1984: p 187)
- Harm to profession (Galliher 35), (Lin, 1976: p 364).
-Harm to scientific knowledge (Lin, 1976: p 364).
- Deception in research devices and methodology, even 2-3
folds of deception upon deception (Kelman, 1967: p 1-2).
- Some examples of deception (Ibid: p 4-6), (Abrahamson, 1983:
- Why deception used? and its implications (Ibid, p 7-9).
- Some questions regarding deception and neutralization of
deception (Hartman and Heblom, 1982: p 343).
- Deception in Camelot Project and Hemphrey's work (Burgess,
1984: p 187), (Abrahamson, 1983: p 40-41).
- How deception used - (Abrahamson, 1983: p 38-9).
- Types of deception - (Reynolds, 1975 : II 17-26 pp)
Role of Researcher and Choice of Research Problem/Paradigm
- To what extent sponsors be allowed to influence the design
and interpretation of social research? (Warwick,1983: p 324)
- Single most frequent topic of discussions of cross-cultural
research ethics has been the relationships between foreign
scholars and local collaborators in the developing countries
(Adams, 1969; Porter,1975; Whyte,1969 in Warwick 1983: p325)
- Much of the concern behind these discussions arose from the
allegations that well financed outside had employed local social
scientists as "hired hands" or otherwise treated them in
- Tapp et al, 1974; Warwick, 1980; Kleymeyer and Bertrand,
1980, Recommend genuine collaboration in the conceptualization
and design of a cross cultural research project. (ibid)
- The more difficult questions come up when, within a given
conceptual or methodological tradition, donors put pressure on
the researchers to move in certain directions (Warwick, 1983 : p
- Research biased towards sponsors who can distort the
findings the ways he likes (Lin, 1976 : p 390).
- Researchers obligations to sponsors to conduct research as a
service to sponsors (ibid p 389).
- But obligations to scientific community should not be
forgotten (ibid, p 367).
- Private research firms get more contracts for research due
to flexible nature of research (ibid, pp 389-90)
- Loyality of researcher to sponsors increases with increase
in funds which inversely affect his duty to scientific community
and scientific principles (ibid, p 389).
- Use of consultants by researcher to balance the biasness
towards sponsor (ibid, p 389).
- Sponsorship and choice of researchers (Varravsky, 1976 : p
- Use of scientific research depends upon interest of funding
agency and total outlay of funds (Huizer, 1973 : p 2)
- Sponsor - researchers dilemma of pluralism and politics in
research (pp 473-479, Fineman, 1981).
- Direct government sponsorship hinders neutral scientific
social research (Burgess, 1984 : pp 186-87)
Research in one's own country vis-a-vis foreign countries
Research in Own Community
- Zin's study all on this topic.
- Accountability of Social Researcher : In minority community
of his own the social researcher has commitment to be accountable
to the people he studies. Gestures of reciprocity do not by
themselves alter the unequal nature of research
relationships. A research conducted by insiders also is not
sufficient to alter the inequality that has characterized the
past research.(Zinn, Maxine Baca)
- Use of Minority community research made by a researcher of
the same community (ibid.)
- A Corrective to past distortions in research study(ibid.)
- Problem with Researcher in his own community(ibid.)
- Ethical Issues and dilemmas in studying one's own
Foreign Area Research
- The main emphasis is on studies in a developing country that
involves funding, personnel, conceptual framework or
methodologies from outside that country (Warwick, 1983: 315).
- General consideration in conducting foreign area research
(Crawford & Lyons, 1967: p 7).
- Third world scholars & western oriented research (Hamnett et
al, 1984: p 6).
Policy Analysis Research and Social Researcher
- What standards should apply to analysis, interpretation and
dissemination of research findings particularly in the areas of
controversy or sensitive matters of public policy? (Warwick, p
- For obvious political reasons; researchers often try to
create the impression that policy implications are based entirely
on science rather than personal, social or political values
(Warwick, 1983 : p 329)
- Warwick and Pettigren (1982) specifically suggest that the
values lying behind policy recommendations be stated honestly and
openly rather than hidden in language connoting and purely
scientific basis for the proposed actions (ibid).
- The scientific costs of mission politics (KAP survey)
(Bulmer and Warwick, 1982 : p 353)
- Professional autonomy and participation of citizens, client
and community in policy formulation (Castellani, 1982 : pp 121-
- Not discussing the policy implications, concer of research
validity and efficient research dilemma and solutions thereof,
(Nagel, 1982 : pp 66-83)
- Policy analysis and social science research (Chubin and
Restivo, 1983 : p 73 in Knorr-Celins and Mulkey, eds.)
- Analysis of ethical issues in sociology discipline and its
research (Wax and Cassell 1981 : p 228).
- Sponsor's obligation in policy formulation (Freeman and
Sherwood, 1970 : p 141).
- Goal conflicts in formulation and implementation of specific
policies and Weiss' (1977) `decision driven' model of policy
analysis (Cohen and Paris; 1982 : p 66-67)
- Researcher responsible for long frawn policy effects and
other side effects of his policy research (Lin, 1976 : pp 386-89)
- Professional and academic considerations in sponsored
research (ibid, p 390)
- Utilization and final reporting of sponsored policy research
- Advocacy of policy by researcher (Fetterman, 1983 : p 353).
Discriminative Research vis-a-vis the researched/subjects/objects
- Unlimited freedom for teacher (Academic Freedom, 1940-49 in
Galliher, 1980 : p 299)
- Public accountability without the exercise of professional
direction lends itself to political coercions and harrasment
(Galliher, 1980 : p 306)
- Researcher's civic responsibility after observing or
inadvertantly being involved in criminal behaviour? (Fetterman,
1983 : p 217; Lin, 1976 : pp 388-89; Wax and Cassell, 1981 : p
227; Ahrahmson, 1983 : p 47; Russell, 1983 : p 67)
- "Serious ethical dilemmas emerge, however, when on's role
makes one privy to confidential information that requires
exposure", (Fetterman, 1983 : p 220)
- However, they would not be fulfilling their obligation if
they allowed the parent organization to control the distribution
of the report (Fetterman, 1983 : p 221)
- Responsibilities of foreign social scientists to national
colleagues working on the same project? (Warwick, 1983 : p 324)
- What responsibilities of social scientists concerning the
conceptualization, design and execution of a field study? (ibid.)
- Like Haldane, many other `anthropologists' explain the role
of anthropologist and pointed out that we must fulfil our social
Morton Fried, (1967) supporting Lynd's view has said "Science has
no responsibility but scientists do.... To support the opinions
of many that scientists do have some social responsibility"
K. Gough Aberle (1967) put a question - "Who is to evaluate and
suggest guidelines for human society, if not those who study it?"
(Tyagi and Masaldan, 1974 : p 34).
- It should be duty of people, connected directly with the
masses for their upliftment, to use the findings of ours in the
way it should be most needful and better for the society as a
whole. The physical anthropologists of India, atleast, at
present, should refrain themselves from getting involved
"directly" to the `social commitments' (Tyagi and Masldon, p 39).
- Researcher's ethical responsibility to present accurate and
complete information to the best of his ability and knowledge
(Lin, 1976 : p 363)
- Protection of respondents and protection of collaborators in
report writing (Lin, 1976 : p 363).
- Why responsibility of researchers towards respondents (ibid,
p 389), (Hartman, 1982 : p 341)
- Responsibility for well being of respondents (ibid)
- Responsibility for the policies drawn in long run from his
- Responsibility of whole of profession (not single
researcher) for the research derived policies on people (ibid, p
- In advocating a policy responsibility of researcher to
inform clientele about his stand before hand (ibid : p 391)
- Professional responsibility of researcher is accompanied by
political and legalistic pressures as well as social
responsibility (ibid; p 389; Denzon, 1970 : p 332; Adams 1967 :
pp 16-17; Galliher p 57-59)
- Responsibility to contribute to society's self-understanding
(Denzin, 1970 : p 333; Freeman and Sherwood, 1970 : p 141)
- Government has responsibility to its citizens and to itself
for a scientific research.
- "Benevolent intentions do not justify a paternalistic
tyranny", (Wax and Cassell, 1981 : p 227).
- "Superordinates do not necessarily deserve the same degree
and type of consideration by researcher as the other more
powerful and deprived individuals do. (Galliher)
- "Public accountability without exercise of professional
discretion and freedom leads itself to political coercion and
- Scientists role while going public (Kirsch, 1982 : p 263)
- Ways to resolve researchers obligations to respondents :
Ethical absolutists and ethical relativitists (Denzin, 1970 : p
Unequal Treatment of Respondents by the Researcher
- Biases in social science research by researcher (Denzin,
1984 : p 335).
- Unequal treatment of respondents by the researcher in racist
societies, minorities (economic and social) and as a sense of
Creation of Demand/Articulation of Need or Problem
- The Quolla and, indeed most of the `primitive' tribes of the
world, would certainly not have been any worse-off had they
notbeen shown civilized ways of life by outsiders. The debate
(between Bolton and Banerji on the studying Indian Qualla tribe)
shows how cultural anthropologists follow the flags of the
conquerors (Banerji, 1984 in Bolton,1984 : p28)
Risk to Researched People in Research
- Not by researcher but by what sponsors, legal agencies and
governmental officials may do with their data (Chambers, 1980 and
Trend, 1980) in Wax and Cassell, 1981 : 226).
- Social research and ethical emphasis upon harm and wronging
by research as compared to benefit (ibid : p 227)
- Little considerations to interest and distress of
respondents (Huizer, 1973 : p 3)
- Dehumanization due to failure of identification and empathy
(Diamond, 1971 in .... )
- Most controversial issue : "Warnting to know the effects of
a controversial or otherwise proposed policy Vs. not wanting to
harm people who otherwise would not be harmed if it were not for
experiment" (Nagel, 1982 : p 79)
- Use of putting people at risk - to test hypothesis or some
other facts in society (ibid, p 80)
- Ethical judgements by weighing risks to informants against
potential benefit of research Galliher
- Researcher's obligation whether respondents be identified
and steps to avoid harming them? (Burgess, 1984 : p 188), Rabben,
1984 : p 81).
- How deep enquiry about illegal activities of informants can
be made (Rabben, 1984 : p 81)
Social Intervention by Researchers or Change in Social set-up by
- (Pelto 1970 : p 223) " The dilemma of the field worker
but how much to interfere" (in Fetterman, 1983 : p 219)
- James (1979 : p 198) has discussed "Advocacy on behalf of
social change is the final step in the use of ethnography. It is
also the only reasonable justification for probing the life
styles of these human beings" (in Fetterman, 1983 : p 221)
- "Social scientists most important role as a social critic of
culture and its contemporary trends" Any social scientist must
dedicate himself to this.
- (Dube, 1982 : p 10); (Bermant and Warwick, 1978 : p 378)
Researcher's should contribute to increase respondent's
- Interventionist policy in social swciences (Joshi, 1986 : pp
144-145) (Miller, 1980 : p 69), (Freeman and Sherwood, 1970 : p
- Intervention with a specifically Indian style (Oomen T.K.,
1986 : p 269)
- Social intervention brings to the fore the question of
ethics (Doris, 1982 : p 200); (Berment and Warwick, 1978 : p 378)
- Social intervention by anthropologists in U.S.A. (Adams,
1967 : pp 18-20); (Huizer, 1973 : p 3).
- Different approaches of social intervention (Southgate and
Randall, : pp 54-55)
- Participant observation leads to participant intervention
(Huizer, 1973 : p 6).
Sharing of Research Findings
- Code of ethics explains: research must be shared with
clients and sponsors but dissemination of draft report was
problematic in this case because of rival informants (Fetlerman,
1983: p 220).
- Communicating the knowledge and dominance of class (Agrawal
Forthcoming: p 14).
- Ethics of teaching and communicating (Ibid), (Tymchuk, 1982:
p 174), (Duble, 1982: p 9-10).
- Use of ideas irrespective of its origin (Madan, 1979: pp 1-
- Distortions created by positivism (Ibid: p 3).
- Sharing the research findings with reasearched (Goode and
Hatt in Hartman and Hedblom, 1982: p 346); (Mead, 1969: p 364);
(Magel, 1982: p 75); (Jones, 1980: p 99).
- Sharing information with Institution (sponsors) (Jones,
1980: p 99).
Right to know:
"Social scientists and other citizens have a right to know about
the information that Hamphrey observed" (Burgess, 1984: p 188).
Dilemma of Researched:
- "Not all action are equally free to make informed choices
about research participation and therefore not all actions
require the same protection. Presumably, those who are least
free require the most protection ..... Indeed to give such equal
warnings may help maintain unequal protection of human subjects."
- Respondents' responsibility to cooperate the researchers no
less than researchers' responsibility for betterment of
informants (Freund, 1969: IX).
- Balance between interests of science and thoughtful
treatment of informants (What?). (Kelman, 1967: p 1); (Max Elden,
1981: p 263 in Reason & Rowan eds.).
- Inter-human relationship between researcher and researched
(Ibid: p 6), (Denzin, 1970: p 323), (Mead, 1969: p 361 in Wax &
Cassell 1981: p 225).
- Relationship when informant are quite well known to
researcher already (Denzin, 1970: p 324).
- Mutual cooperation between researchers and researched in
(a) hospitals, (Freud, 1969: p IX)
(b) Psychological research, (Kelman, 1967: p 6)
(c) Researcher and respondents (who are already well known
to the researcher and thus may affect the research finding to be
in their favour), (Denzin, 1970: p 324).
- Consideration of social context within which subjects are
located. Social context affect the relationship observers
establish with subjects (Ibid, p 323).
- In ethnographic social research relationship between
researcher and researched is symmetrical, Wax & Cassel (1981): p
- Orthodox conception of research (Sayer, 1984: p 232),
(Joshi, 1986: p 146).
- Some research traditions in social science research
depending upon their alienation to researched (in Reason & Rowan
eds - Rowan, 1981: p 93).
Use of Research
- Y. Atal (
- Are the products of social science to be equally available
to the very rich and to the very poor and to all nations
equally, including South Africa?
- Do some rights of subjects conflict or have priority over
other? (G 1980: 305).
- "In the case of social science research, it may be that many
people's rights to physical survival could depend in part on
a social scientists overriding another person's right as a
research subject (1980: 305).
- The manner in which research findings are presented
influence how information will be used or abused --- as
researcher is likely to be used as pawn by various vested
interests (Fetlerman, 1983: p 221).
- Ivory tower of social sciences as a pawn in the chess-game
of vested interested and powers (Huiger, 1973: p 1).
Mill's Proposition: "There is no necessity for working social
scientists to allow the potential meaning of their work to be
shaped by the `accidents' of its settings, or its use to be
determined by the purposes of other men. It is quite within
their powers to discuss its meaning and decide upon its uses as
matters of their own policy, 1959: 177" (In Fetlerman, 1983:
- The main ethical abuses seen with interpretation of social
science data are overinterpretation; including the
simplification of complex research findings, and drawing
policy recommendations whose normative and empirical
foundations are not clearly separated (Warwick: 328).
- In social and natural sciences third world problems remains
mostly ignored (Varsavsky, 1967: p 22).
- Management researches on workers' self-enhancement
irrespective of other aspects (Miller, 1980: p 70).
- Use of KAP Survey to legitimize population programmes in
Third World countries (Bulmer and Warwick, 1983: p 350).
- Distinction between factual and evaluative propositions is
oversimple and misleading (Nelson, 1978: p 30).
- For using ethical discourse in social sciences boundaries
are redefined to legitimize the actions of researcher
(Cassell, 1981: p 167).
- Educational values of various researches (In Reason & Rowan
ed. - Torbert, 1981: p 141).
- Political Reward System in social sciences by Brandl (1978):
The Cassaandra Effect (In Morell, 1982: p 209).
- Political context of research: sociology's pressure groups
affecting research (Denzin, 1970: p 326-7).
- Usefulness of research based on fulfilment of sponsors'
and policy makers' interests (Lin, 1976: p 390).
Ethics in Publication of Research
- Unethical analysis of data to have insignificant results for
publication (Lin, 1976: pp 11-12).
- Unethical ways of Publication (Lin, 1976: pp 363-64):
- deliberate distortion
- doctoring or fudging of data
- publishers unability to publish accurate and complete
information due to limited space.
Remedy: Ensure access of resarchers to more journals and
mass; involving more scientists in editorial decision, etc.
(Lin, p 364).
- Researcher responsible for all the losses to informants due
to his publication (Mead, 1969: p 364).
- "All the decisions of publications should rest with
researcher as he is well aware of consequences of his
actions" (Denzin, 1970: p 337).
- "There is also need for avenues through which the individual
scientists can communicate the process used in making a
decision" (Tymchuk, 1982: p 174).
- Ethical control in publication by exposing the methods
employed by researcher for consent and approval of
respondents (Freund, 1969: XI).
- Misinterpretation of collected data to present unscientific
and wrong conclusions (Huizer, 1973: p 6).
- "Researcher should submit their studies to the community for
review and criticism before research starts and after its
completion" Alversion, 1973 in (Jones, 1980: p 99).
- Even the decision to publish findings should be reviewed by
the people who will be most affected (Talbert, 1974: p 217;
Jacob, 1974: p 212-3).
- "Does publication of a research make it difficult to
replicate the research? and were the respondent aware of
sudy of their corrupt behaviour by researcher and also that
it all would be published?" (Rabben, 1984: p 81).
Regulations to stop unethical research activities
- Participation in the art of moral decision making may not
prevent the world from "breathing down our necks" or from
"ignoring us" but it will ensure that we do not forget our
own multiple sets of responsibilities (Fetlerman, 1983:
- Commentators have focussed on 4 main topics on the ethics of
(a) Profession relations between research and peers
(b) obligation to informants
(c) Professional standard while conducting study
(d) Standards for analysis, interpretation and dissemination
of data (Warwick, 1983: 326).
- 5 specific suggestions made for cross-cultural studies
(Warwick, 1983: 326) as obligations to population studied.
- 4 professional standards in research (Warwick, p 327)
- use of most powerful method of research
- true representative samples
- unbiased questions in questionnaire
- avoid known sources of bias in casual attributes.
- Dealing with problem of deception in social psychological
experiments (Kelman, 1967: pp 198-202).
- History of policy development for restricting unethical
human experimentation from 1953 (Corstellani, 1982: p 111-
- Ethics of control and censorship and its interpretation by
local administrators (Agrawal, forthcoming: p 9).
- Make the costs of unethical behaviour substantially higher
than benefits (Magel, 1982: p 77).
- Making the committee (ethics) responsible with some powers
to take proper actions (Long and Dorn, 1982: pp 82 & 85).
- Ethical questions be weighed in all researches and
considered even in secondary data analysis.
- Complete all possible steps before data collection to avoid
deviation from original research design and legimitize if
any change thereafter (Hartman & Hedblom, 1982: p 347).
- Extensive evaluation of research sponsored by its agencies
to avoid potential damage to researched (Lin, 1976: 389).
- Use of national data banks (Ibid, p 364).
- Governmental regulations - "try to avoid abuses rather than
promote morality" (Murray and Cassell, 1981: p 228).
- Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) face dilemmas created by
Government, social scientists etc. (Ibid: p 226).
- Evaluation of sponsored research by review panels of
scientists hired only for evaluation of researchers (Lin, p
- Review Boards to evaluate risk and harms (Abrahamson, 1983:
- Government regulations for protecting human subjects.
- Use of `Buffer Institutions' in research finding to avoid
intervention of sponsor (Burgess, 1984: p 189).
- Use of public debates on deceptive prospects (Ibid: p 186).
- Constant self-evaluation and reflection on research
experiences to understand moral dilemmas (Ibid: p 207).
- Seven factors to solve ethical dilemmas in research by
recognizing and balancing the interests (Tymchuk, 1982: pp
Code of Ethics in Various Social Sciences
- Code of ethics and its use by planners and its effectiveness
(Hawe and Kaufman, 1982: p 26-7).
- American Institute of Planners Code of Professional
responsibility, common code of ethics and conflict between
public interest and equity principles in planners code of
ethics 9Ibid, pp 12-13).
- Use of code of ethics ( ).
- "The only safe way to avoid the violating principles of
profvessional ethics is to refrain from doing any social
research altogether" (Bronfenbrenner, 1952: p 453 in
Burgess,1984: p 207).
- Sociology Code of Ethics: a survey regarding use,
applicability and conflicts between professionals regarding
its use (Long & Dorn, 1982: p 80-86).
- Code of ethics written to discourage anthropologists from
trying to change cultures and societies (Adams, 1967: p 18).
- A historical perspective of ethical principles in
Anthropological Research (Adams, 1981: p 155-60).
- ASA code of ethics - 4 principles (Abrahamson, 1983: p 47-
- Emergence of Journalistic code of Ethics for reporting and
communicating the reports (Agrawal, forthcoming: p 17).
- Health, Education & Welfare (H~EW) code of ethics to protect
respondents in social research (Pool, 1980: p 63).
Ethical Deviance in Profession & Politics
- Fetterman (1983: 222) reviewed that this is not to suggest
that we must institute sanctions against ethical wrong doing
for "the cost of emphasizing punishment as a means of
regulation and control of occupational deviance is that it
suppresses the kind of a candid moral discourse which is
necessary to make genuine moral maturity possible"
(Klockars, 1979: p 27).
- The politics of research raises problems of ethics
particularly when use of power, influence and authority
causes harm to the persons or groups or serves the interests
of some at the expenses of others. Ethical issue become
political when, for example, infringements on the rights of
individuals or groups or even countries become a source of
controversy or demands for regulation (Warwick, 1983: 316).
- "Other things being equal, we would expect that in country A
it would be politically more feasible to conduct a survey on
attitude towards birth control than in country B, where that
question is linked to the divisive issue of ethnic
- Beals (1969) points out 'It appears that potentially any
study of politicization political attitudes or behaviour,
political parties or factions, or governmental policies may
be sensitive, especially if social tensions are high ......
whether a study is judged to be sensitive often depends on
the political relations of the investigator and in case of
foreign investigators, the home and host countries (In
Warwick, 1983: 318-19).
- Politics of access can become highly complex when field
research is to be conducted on minority or ethnic groups.
Access will be most difficult when the study deals with the
groups that have been oppressed or exploited by larger
society, when research topics are sensitive within the
group, when the political leadership of group is ambiguous
or divided and when the group's experience with the type of
research in question has been negative (Warwick, 321).
- The politics of research can further affect the
conceptualization of the problem to be studied the choice of
methodology, the specific design used for data collection,
the wording of questions, the extent of quality control in
the field; and other aspects of the research process
- The expedient answer may be research design allowing the
collection of a variety of data, including qualitative
observations. When the results from such research are
finally in it may be very difficult for critics or
supporters to say anything very definitive about what was
produced by the programme under scrutiny (Warwick, 323).
- Should some topic be avoided particularly when they are
likely to touch-off domestic or international controversy?
- Ethical standards within organization in publishing and
reviewing research - dissensus about existence of ethical
stards; no rule for communicating them; and hardly any
penalty for violation of rules (Vonglinov & Luke Novelli,
- Government regulations discuss avoidance of abuses not
promotion of morality (Wax & Cassell, 1981: p 228).
- Ethics discussed only in crisis, otherwise, no highly
relevant insights as in philosophy of science etc. (Hamnett
et al, 1984: p 7).
- Two senses of moral position: anthropological sense and
discriminatory sense. Moral reasoning focusses on either
the act itself or consequences of that act (Cohen & Paris,
1982: pp 68-70).
- Ethical relativism as "working assumption" by scientists
(Nelson, 1978: p 28).
- Moral orientation of a profession is necessarily and
entirely self-serving (Wax & Cassell, 1981: p 228).
- Social scientist express and affirm particular assumptions
and taken for granted understanding of world in professional
conduct and acceptance of ethics principles (Hamnett, 1981:
- Organizational ethics: a stacked deck with no structured
relationship (Smith & Carrol, 1984: p 95) and no
responsibility to apply alternative behaviours instead of
organization's preferred ways (even if former ones are
superior); this a pattern of powerful pressure needs to be
- Regulations enforcement seen as kind of harassment and no
improvement in researcher's conduct (Wax & Cassell, 1981: p
- Use of truth but little deviation for benefit of fellow man
(Agrawal, p 5).
- Realism is distorted in Natyasastra to a level of fantasy
for happy ending (Agrawal, p 17).