Ethical Issues in Research and Practical Solutions
I have chosen once again to focus on juvenile crime but the ethical issues that a researcher may face in conducting research on this subject could just as well be faced in undertaking research on other subjects too. If the research involves human participants at all then there will be several areas of concern that should be addressed.
A major concern in any research study involving human subjects is the safety of the research participant. Researchers must be able to effectively assess the risk/benefit ratio of any research involving human participants (Callahan & Hobbs, 1998). Evaluation should be ongoing throughout the length of the study. Creswell (2009, p.87) underscores this issue as well but broadens it to cover the guarding against misconduct and impropriety. Codes of professional conduct must be adhered to.
Of equal importance is the need to obtain informed consent of all research participants. This is especially important in an age where people are all too quick to press for litigation when they feel they have been deceived, violated, or abused in any way. Participants in research involving juvenile crime may already be victims in one way or another so it is very important to secure informed consent from all participants.
When obtaining informed consent participants should have the opportunity to read and carefully consider the risks and benefits associated with the study. Once this has occurred the informed consent should be obtained in writing. Privacy and confidentiality must also be considered. Researchers must be sensitive to how information is protected from unauthorized observation (Callahan et. al., 1998).
Callahan & Hobbs (1998) cite three primary principles from the Belmont Report, written by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research in 1979. These principles deal with autonomy, beneficence, and justice. Any research involving human...