Ethical issues in Sociological Research
The study of people (“human subjects”) raises vital questions about ethical concerns in sociological research. Beginning in the 1960s. the U.S. government set up regulations for “the protection of human subjects.” Because of scientific ~buses in the past. researchers arc now mandated to weigh the societal benefits of research against the potential physical and emotional costs to participants. Researchers are required to obtain written “informed consent” statements from the persons they study. However. these guidelines have produced many new questions. What constitutes “informed consent”! What constitutes harm 10 a person? How do researchers protect the identity and confidentiality of their sources?