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Ethical and political issues in contemporary research relationships

Aldred, Rachel (2008) Ethical and political issues in contemporary research relationships. Sociology, 42 (5). pp. 887-903. ISSN 0038-0385

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038508094568


This article discusses how ethical and political issues affect contemporary research relationships. It focuses on the responsibilities of researchers studying organizations and elites, and the discussion draws upon the author's experience of researching NHS primary health care services. The article reviews the spread of `ethical guidelines' from medical to social research. Such guidelines primarily address ethical problems relating to individual researcher—researched relationships. Sociologists have criticized the application of medically based guidelines to social research, while often accepting an ethical framework based on the researcher—researched dyad. But this limited conception of ethical responsibilities leaves complex organizational power hierarchies and their effects undertheorized. Researchers may then be vulnerable and lack guidance where organizational loyalties and market mechanisms have undermined the traditional supports of academic independence and professionalism. Sociologists could learn from critical medical scientists' responses to some related ethical dilemmas, as some medical researchers have experienced these issues more acutely and for longer.

Item Type:Article
Research Community:University of Westminster > Architecture and the Built Environment, School of
ID Code:11182
Deposited On:15 Oct 2012 16:24
Last Modified:15 Oct 2012 16:24

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