WU Social Science Ethics and Research Paper

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Assignment 2 – Ethics & Research: (30 points)

To learn about ethical issues, standards, and practices in qualitative research.

  • To apply ethical concepts by analyzing case studies using the ethical standards outlined in the textbooks and class.

Bourgois, Phillipe (1995). In Search of Respect. Cambridge University Press. (This book describes the drug dealing culture in a neighborhood in Spanish Harlem in New York and seeks to uncover the economic issues facing the people of that neighborhood.) [Harlem hereafter]

In a paper that is 12 pages long (Word format, Times New Roman, 12-point font, double spaced), carry out an analysis of the book based on the following ethical considerations that are discussed in the Miller et al. text. Please respond to each aspect specifically.

  • Ethics of Knowledge
  • The account is, in part, an effort to define what counts as knowledge. Looking at the framing of the questions or issues in the study, the analysis of data, and the writing up of findings, what message was the writer trying to convey?
  • Are there assumptions in the research that tend to naturalize particular perspectives as the norm? What would those perspectives be?
  • Do the social, political, and/or personal interests of the writer color the produced knowledge? In what way is this reflected in the account? Ethically, what do YOU think would be the best way of dealing with such “biases”?
  • Was there a power differential between the researcher and the subjects? Was it ethical for Bourgois to represent the Harlem drug dealing community as he did? Would it be ethical not to represent the community?
  • In your assessment, was the author primarily advancing knowledge in his field of study or advancing their career, or both? What ethical issues arise from researcher interests?
  • Participant protection
  • From a researcher’s perspective, what duty of protection, if any, did the writer bear, and towards who? (The participants? the intended audience? US law enforcement? Others…?) Did the author breach that duty, and if so, why do you think so?
  • Do you think the participants in the research consented to the research? Whatever consent may have been given at the start of the research; do you think such consent would have covered all the aspects eventually reported on?
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