Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • Ethical Responsibilities
  • Social Science Research
  • Sociology
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, eBook, Text/HTML, Video

    Education Standards

    Examine the ethical responsibilities of the social science research process


    OER Text Material

    Eye on Society: Doing Sociological Research

    Ethical Issues in Social Science

    • This section describes two kinds of ethical issues and/or guidelines that characterize sociological research.

    Sociological Research in the Service of Society

    • Should the primary aim of sociological research be to help improve society, or should its primary aim be to discover social knowledge for its own sake? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. However, following in the spirit of the early American sociologists, this book hopes to show the relevance of sociological knowledge and insights, as derived from sound, objective research, for addressing many of the social issues facing American society and various nations around the world.

    Additional Student/Classroom Resources

    Study Support - Quizlets

    Assignment Option 

    Part One:

    • Class Selected Topic
    • Individual Student Literature Reviews (Current Events) on Selected Topic
    • Class work to Define the Problem
    • Individual and Class work to Create the Hypothesis

    Part Two:

    • Individual and class work to select a research method and create the data collection tool (survey mixed methods, qualitative and quantitative questions)

    Part Three:

    • Individual student Collect Data
    • Individual and Class work to analyze collected data
    • Individual student present numerical values and findings – based on qualitative and quantitative data collection analysis
    • Class work to apply findings to generate additional research ideas

    Part Four:

    • Individual student summary of research findings (hypothesis proven or not proven)
    • Individual student summary relating findings of research to the three sociological perspectives (Structural Functional, Conflict, and symbolic interaction perspectives)
    • Individual student summary on observed “bias” in the class project and his/her individual data findings
    • Individual student proposed ideas for future research endeavors to expand the class selected topic, hypothesis, and data collection process – as well as address the above mentioned bias

    Note: This project spans over seven weeks of the semester, week-five to week-fourteen – individual lesson topics work to further expand on the social science research process, as students move through the four-part project.

    Based on above review of resources (and the OER material) – and suggested project completion, students should be able to discuss the following:

    • Describe ways in which sociologists gather, interpret and evaluate data
      • Explain the social science research process
      • Apply the social science research process to selected research topics:
        • Define the problem(s)
        • Review the literature
        • Formulate the hypothesis
        • Choose and design research method
      • Recognize ethical responsibilities within the social science research process
    • Practice quantitative and qualitative methodologies
      • Collect data
      • Analyze and interpret collected data
      • Present numerical values of data findings
      • Apply findings to generate additional research ideas
    • Summarize findings of social science research process
      • Compose a narrative summary of research findings
      • Relate research findings to sociological perspectives
      • Determine potential bias within research process
      • Propose ideas for future research endeavors