11 Ethical Issues in Survey Research

Like all social research, surveys should be carried out in ways designed to avoid risks to participants, respondents, and interviewers. This chapter summarizes procedures for ethically managing surveys. Like all research that involves human subjects, the survey researcher needs to be attentive to the ethical manner in which the research is carried out. A basic guideline is that the researcher should make sure that no individual suffers any adverse consequences as a result of the survey. Moreover, to the extent that it is feasible, a good researcher also will be attentive to maximizing positive outcomes of the research process. The foundation for most of the guidelines for protecting human subjects in research in the United States is the Belmont Report (National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects, 1979). Almost all universities and most other organizations in the United States that conduct federally funded research have an Institutional Review Board ...

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