The Handbook of Social Research Ethics

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The Handbook of Social Research Ethics is the first comprehensive volume of its kind to offer a deeper understanding of the history, theory, philosophy, and implementation of applied social research ethics. Editors Donna M. Mertens and Pauline Ginsberg bring together eminent, international scholars across the social and behavioral sciences and education to address the ethical issues that arise in the theory and practice of research within the technologically advancing and culturally complex world in which we live. In addition, this volume examines the ethical dilemmas that arise in the relationship between research practice and social justice issues.

Key Features

  • Situates the ethical concerns in the practice of social science research in historical and epistemological contexts
  • Explores the philosophical roots of ethics from the perspectives of Kant, J.S. Mill, Hegel, and others
  • Provides an overview and comparison of ethical regulations across disciplines, governments, and additional contexts such as IRBs, program evaluation, and more
  • Examines specific ethical issues that arise in traditional methods and methodologies
  • Addresses ethical concerns within a variety of diverse, cultural contexts

Intended Audience

This reference is an invaluable resource for university faculty, researchers, ethicists, IRB members, social science practitioners, graduate students, and program evaluators throughout the social and behavioral sciences.


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About the author (2009)

Donna M. Mertens is Professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Research at Gallaudet University. She teaches research methods and program evaluation to deaf and hearing students at the MA and PhD levels.She conducts research and evaluation studies on such topics as improvement of special education services in international settings, planning for the inclusion of students with disabilities in neighborhood schools, enhancing the educational experiences of students with disabilities, preventing sexual abuse in residential schools for deaf students, improving access to the court systems for deaf and hard-of-hearing people, and improving the preparation of teachers of the deaf through appropriate use of instructional technology. Her research focuses on improving methods of inquiry by integrating the perspectives of those who have experienced oppression in our society. She draws on the writings of feminists, minorities, people with disabilities, as well as indigenous peoples who have addressed the issues of power and oppression and their implications for research methodology.Dr. Mertens has made numerous presentations at the meetings of the American Educational Research Association, the American Evaluation Association, the Association for College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the International Sociological Association, International Mixed Methods Conference, the American Psychological Association, and other organizations that explore these themes. She served as President and Board member of the American Evaluation Association from 1997 to 2002 and as a member of the Board of Trustees for the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation 2002-2003. She is the co-editor for the Journal of Mixed Methods Research (with Max Bergman). Pauline Ginsberg (PhD, Syracuse University, Social Psychology) is Professor of Psychology, Utica College, Utica, NY, and winner of the college’s Clark Award, given to the faculty members at the rank of professor who have an outstanding record of professional activity. Over the past 23 years, she has taught undergraduate courses in introductory psychology, statistics, program evaluation, social psychology, group dynamics, and adolescent development, as well as a variety of seminars. In anthropology, she has taught culture and personality. As an adjunct, she taught a course in quasi-experimental design and program evaluation at the graduate level at Syracuse University. In 1989-90 she taught at the graduate level at the University of Nairobi’s Department of Psychiatry and returned to the University of Nairobi in 2002 as a Fulbright lecturer to teach undergraduates in the Department of Psychology. In all of these courses, research ethics has been a substantive topic, particularly so in those that involved preparation of a research proposal and/or an actual research component. While the ethical practices of experimental psychology are connected to quantitative research methods, Ginsberg’s own research and that of some of her students has also employed mixed and qualitative methods. Moreover, independent research and research undertaken with collaborators abroad has introduced a practical education in cross-cultural research practices. Ginsberg also served on the Utica College IRB for eleven years, including 10 years as chairperson. As a volunteer, she has assisted community agency formation of research policy. Ginsberg is a founding member and past co-president of the American Evaluation Association’s International and Cross-Cultural Evaluation Topical Interest Group and past president of the Eastern Evaluation Research Society.

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