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Ethics in Social Science Research

Ethics in Social Science Research
Becoming Culturally Responsive

December 2017 | 312 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Ethics in Social Science Research: Becoming Culturally Responsive provides a thorough grounding in research ethics, along with examples of real-world ethical dilemmas in working with vulnerable populations. Author Maria K. E. Lahman aims to help qualitative research students design ethically and culturally responsive research with communities that may be very different from their own. Throughout, compelling first person accounts of ethics in human research—both historical and contemporary—are highlighted and each chapter includes vignettes written by the author and her collaborators about real qualitative research projects.

About the Author
Chapter 1. Becoming Ethically Responsive Researchers: Introduction
Federal and Discipline Human Research Ethics Adherence

Developing Aspirational Ethics

Book Organization

Elements of the Text

Chapter 2. Culturally Responsive Relational Reflexive Ethics in Research: The Three Rs
Other in Research

Vulnerable in Research

Participant as Capable and Competent, Yet Vulnerable

Creating an Aspirational Research Ethics Stance

Why Create Your Own Ethical Stance?

Exemplar of an Aspirational Ethics Stance

Reflexive Questions


Chapter 3. Research Ethics History: Regulations and Beyond
A Brief History of Contemporary Western Research Ethics

Research Ethics Boards

Research Ethics Boards (REBs)

Reflexive Questions


Chapter 4. Research Pragmatics and Methodological Considerations
Informed Consent


Culturally Responsive Ethical Research Methodology

Reflexive Questions

Reflexive Course Experience


Chapter 5. Ethical Research With Children: Always Othered?
Image of a Child

Contemporary Images of the Child

Children as Other

Nature of Adult Memory

Researchers’ Methodological Positioning to Child

Suggestions for Early Childhood Researchers

Always Othered

Reflexive Questions

Reflexive Course Experience


Chapter 6. Ethical Research With People Who Immigrate: A Stranger in a Strange Land
Humans: A Migratory Species

Current Immigration Contexts


Authors as Immigrants

The Research Contexts We Reflect Within

People Who Are Undocumented

Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery

International Students: Sojourner Immigrants

Ethical Considerations When Conducting Research With Immigrants


Reflexive Questions

Reflexive Course Experience


Chapter 7. Ethical Research With People of Diverse Sexual Orientation: Inescapably Othered?

Historical Queer Research Narratives

Ethnography With LGBTQQ+ University Students

Ethical and Methodological Considerations

Inescapably Othered?

Reflexive Questions

Reflexive Course Experiences


Chapter 8. Ethical Research With People Who Are Homeless: “My Mind’s Not Homeless"
Current Contexts of Homelessness

People Who Are Homeless as Vulnerable Yet Capable and Competent

The Research Contexts We Reflect On

Ethical Considerations

Reflexive Questions

Reflexive Course Experiences


Chapter 9. Visual and Virtual Ethical Research: Captured Forever
Visual Research

Virtual Research

Internet as a Culture

Our Research Areas

Ethical Considerations

Reflexive Questions

Reflexive Course Experiences


Appendix A. Research Ethics Sample Syllabus
Appendix B. Research With Native American Communities
Appendix C. Older Age Is a Chronological Part of Life, Not a Vulnerability
Appendix D. Ethics Should Be About Protecting Participants, Not the Research Institution
Appendix E. The Use of the Internet and Skype in Qualitative Research
Appendix F. Reflexive Course Experiences

Ethics in Social Science Research provides students of social science research with a comprehensive guide to the most challenging ethical concerns in a variety of disciplines. This is an invaluable toolkit.”

Robert Dahlgren

“This text’s strengths are its emphasis on ethics as an ongoing, relational issue in research (rather than one only of primary concern in the planning stages) and its many concrete case study examples that students can relate to.”

Jason Crockett
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

“This text provides much needed guidance and clearly articulates the critical importance of valuing and honoring the rights of the vulnerable when they are engaged as research subjects.”

Bibhuti Sar
University of Louisville

“The text clearly explains the historical development of research ethics and the need for Institutional Review Boards. Its strength is that it challenges researchers to consider research from the participant point of view and develop a personal moral code regarding research.”

Marilyn Bruin
University of Minnesota

This is a path-breaking, well-crafted text that charts a culturally responsive path for doing qualitative research with vulnerable populations.

Norman K. Denzin
University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
Key features


  • First person, real, ethical research dilemmas make the information accessible and help bring the material to life so that students understand that they are actively part of this world of ethics.
  • Chapter vignettes look at real qualitative research projects with vulnerable populations such as children, homeless people, immigrants, and LGBTQ youth.
  • Cutting edge areas including ethics on the Internet, the use of human images, and digital data security are covered to provide currency.
  • An array of pedagogy such as Resource lists, Reflexive Discussion Questions, and Course Activities reinforce topics.
  • The Appendices offer students' ethical stances in the form of course papers that are not featured in the book, but help make the idea of developing one's own ethical stance feel less intimidating.

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