This course will be useful for students who are pursuing social sciences research at Masters, MPhil and PhD levels. Faculty from academic institutions and individuals working in research organisations and think tanks will also find this course very useful. The course covers several theoretical and methodological issues in research which intrinsically are about good scientific research which uphold high ethical standards.
Introduction to the Course
Various fields of science adhere to the rigours of scientific method like reliability, validity and replicability governing research. Unlike research in pure sciences, which attempts to carry out research in a laboratory setting, in social sciences, research is based largely within the context of society, communities and everyday lives of people.
Crucial to social science practice is the relationship between the researcher and the researched. Since human beings are embedded within a system of social hierarchies, these too manifest within social science research. Central to research ethics is the recognition of asymmetrical/imbalanced relationship amongst the key players in research - researchers, research institutes, sponsors/funders, research participants and communities, for example.
Awareness of ethical considerations become very important, and must be navigated to ensure that research respects the dignity, privacy and rights of the individuals being researched.
This course will attempt to build the awareness and understanding of participants who enrol for this course to:
1. Appreciate the salience of research ethics in upholding scientific integrity of research enterprise and
2. Identify and apply the methods of ethical reasoning to social science research.