Basic ethical approaches in the study of social work...

Basic ethical approaches in the study of social work

The debate about the ethical aspects of research in the social sciences is conducted from two perspectives - ethical absolutism and ethical relativism. Ethical absolutism insists on the existence of some unshakable unshakable norms, the violation of which must be prosecuted, and the perpetrator - subject to professional disqualification. It is on this principle that codes of professional ethics in the social sciences are based, declaring the protection of the researchers, therefore such ethical concepts are also called deontological.

The standard of relations between the researcher and the researcher adopted in the West appears in the form of the principle of informed consent. This principle means that the subject should be informed about the research itself, its purposes and what it means to participate in it .

In a broad sense, informed consent means respectful and open communication with participants throughout the work, respect for autonomy and lifestyle, as well as providing useful information about the research itself, its significance and possible dissemination. The latter interpretation belongs to J. Sieber, who advocates full openness, truthfulness and categorically against any deception and concealment. This position can be considered the most consistent embodiment of ethical absolutism. According to Sieber, the best strategy to protect the sensitivity of the participants in the study is to plan ethical and cultural-sensory research, to interpret the data in a tactful and balanced way, taking into account the interests of the study participants, intermediaries and society. In other words, ethical issues should be at the top of the list from the very beginning of work, and certainty must be achieved in these matters (the most accurate assessment of the potential of risk elements at all stages, the vulnerability of each directly or indirectly implicated person or institution, the types of possible ethical problems, etc.).

Another, perhaps more sober understanding of informed consent is demonstrated by R. Houman, pointing out the difficulties of practical implementation of such a standard. In addition to the fact that the literal adherence to this principle leaves behind all hidden types and elements of the research, the researcher can not foresee all the consequences at will, nor can he fully communicate the research purpose, since the simplified version is not sufficiently informative and a detailed translation from the conceptual language will take too a lot of time; Some tasks and research opportunities may change or arise during the course of work. Practical work in natural conditions always contains elements of both open and hidden research, the ratio of which can vary depending on the circumstances, accordingly, the degree of informed consent will change.

Such an approach is quite common and has as a result the recognition of the fundamental inevitability of ethical errors, some of which are deliberately planned (for example, concealing information at the entrance to hidden surveillance), some may arise out of schedule. Therefore, research ethics can not be solved once and for all. Recipe This position is to as much as possible formulate the moral prescriptions in the part of the procedure.

An example of such detailed prescriptions can serve as ethical principles, formulated as "standard procedures" by F. Fowler during a survey survey. These procedures regulate the information and protection of respondents, the benefits for respondents, as well as the ethical responsibility of interviewers. But even such prescriptions do not guarantee ethical impeccability of the research, as the probability of unforeseen situations is preserved - even in a rigidly formalized survey.

Thus, the solution of ethical problems is complicated by the impossibility of unconditional predictability of the research situation, which leads to ethical relativism, which is based on the recognition that the evaluation of the ethical behavior of the researcher depends on specific circumstances. The most vivid expression of this idea found in the so-called conflict methodology of D. Douglas. This methodology is based on the conflicting paradigm of society, according to which in our lives there is always incorrect, distorted information, excuses, evasive answers, lies; any social interaction, including the most friendly, always contains potential or actual conflicts. The attitude of the researcher to the researcher is not an exception, therefore it is necessary to act according to the situation.

According to Douglas, "just because social actors resort to lies, fraud, various tricks, tricks and blackmail," the social scientist is justified in using the same means when ego is necessary for achieving highly objective scientific truth. " These words are often cited by Douglas when discussing professional ethics and assessing deception, treating them as a kind of extremum, but few are at risk of approaching such a radicalism. Thus, M. Punch states: "My position is to deny the" conflict methodology "as a generally unacceptable model for social science. At the same time, I am inclined to accept some controlled measure of deception in the field relations, ensuring the protection of the interests of the subject - and ensuring, first of all, the production of a good research!

The ethical concept based on relativism is also called teleological. Usually, a strictly weighed from the moral point of view, weighing the goal and means (the end justifies the means?) is absolutely natural for calculating economic efficiency (how much do the costs pay off?) . The ethical situation of social research is discussed in terms of costs and benefits, harm and benefit. When the calculation of benefit and harm has a positive balance, the study is given a green light. From this, however, it does not follow that the high relevance of research in principle removes from the agenda the problem of possible harm. The way to solve the problem is to recognize that any social interaction contains some risk potential, and a detailed study of the specifics of the research risk (usually impose constraint, deception, invasion of privacy, breach of confidentiality, stress, collective risk).

In the work of R. Bowers and P. de Gasparis, "Ethics in Social Research" there is a section that is called: "Weighing the risks and benefits". This same operation is carried out by G. McCracken, analyzing the interrelationship between the interviewer and the respondent in a qualitative interview, and the authors of the book on the methodology and practice of interviewing J. Converse and H. Schumann have at least four reasons why people want to be interviewed.

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