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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Some Social Scientists Are Tired of Asking for Permission – The New York Times (Kate Murphy | May 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on May 25, 2017

Sometimes a change to national policy isn’t enough to alter institutional practice – especially when that practice has been entrenched for a few decades and is wrapped in institutional risk. This New York Times story highlights why there’s so much chatter around the change to the US ‘Common Rule’.

If you took Psychology 101 in college, you probably had to enroll in an experiment to fulfill a course requirement or to get extra credit. Students are the usual subjects in social science research — made to play games, fill out questionnaires, look at pictures and otherwise provide data points for their professors’ investigations into human behavior, cognition and perception.
But who gets to decide whether the experimental protocol — what subjects are asked to do and disclose — is appropriate and ethical? That question has been roiling the academic community since the Department of Health and Human Services’s Office for Human Research Protections revised its rules in January.
The revision exempts from oversight studies involving “benign behavioral interventions.” This was welcome news to economists, psychologists and sociologists who have long complained that they need not receive as much scrutiny as, say, a medical researcher.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Codes of Ethics for Economists: A Pluralist View (Papers: Sheila C Dow | 2013)0

Posted by Admin in on May 22, 2017

Within the discussion of ethics and economics some have considered designing a code of ethics for economists. But the idea of such a code is potentially problematic from a pluralist standpoint. Some possibilities are discussed here to show that any code concerning the behaviour of economists presumes a particular view of human nature and thus of professionalism. Further, issues of socio-economic power in the profession pose problems for the interpretation and implementation of some possible principles, notably those referring to standards of competence and truth-seeking. It is therefore concluded that any code of ethics should take the form of general guidelines, with primacy given to the  ethics of pluralism: tolerance, even-handedness and open-mindedness, on which the interpretation of all other ethical
considerations rests.

Code of ethics, epistemology, pluralism

Dow S (2013) Codes of Ethics for Economists: A Pluralist View, Economic Thought, 2 (1), pp. 20-29.
Publisher  (open access):

Controversies Surrounding Laud Humphreys’ Tearoom Trade: An Unsettling Example of Politics and Power in Methodological Critiques (Papers: Michael Lenza | 2004)0

Posted by Admin in on May 20, 2017

Argues that Humphrey’s tearoom trade study, misinforms readers as much as it informs, regarding moral and ethical foundations for research with human subjects. States that Humphrey’s tearoom study made significant positive contributions to the population he studied. Concludes that few studies in sociology have accomplished as much in a single work.

Political theory, Homosexuality, Sociology

Lenza M, (2004) Controversies surrounding Laud Humphreys’ tearoom trade: an unsettling example of politics and power in methodological critiques. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 24(3/4/5) pp.20-31 doi: 10.1108/01443330410790858

Tearoom Trade on Google Books

A Guide to Professional in Political Science (Guidelies: APSA | 2012)0

Posted by Admin in on May 19, 2017

Political scientists share problems in common with practitioners of other scholarly disciplines. They also frequently encounter ethical problems unique to their professional concerns. The purpose of this Guide is to provide an authoritative statement of ethical principles for political scientists, particularly for those newly entering the profession.
In 1967 the APSA created a committee with a broad mandate to explore matters “relevant to the problems of maintaining a high sense of professional standards and responsibilities.” That committee, chaired by Marver H. Bernstein1, published its report, “Ethical Problems of Academic Political Scientists,” in the summer 1968 issue of PS. An enduring contribution of this committee was the development of a written code consisting of twenty-one rules of professional conduct. The Bernstein Report, as it came to be called, also recommended the appointment of a Standing Committee on Professional Ethics and such a committee was duly created in 1968.
The title, the work, and the jurisdiction of the Standing Committee have been in a process of continuous evolution since that time. Its original jurisdiction, for example, did not include individual cases. The Committee was at first envisaged as an educational body to “protect the rights of political scientists” by the issuance of advisory opinions to guide the professional behavior of political scientists. Twenty-three advisory opinions have been adopted since the Committee was established.

Read the guidelines