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4 Ethical Issues in Social Work Research

This chapter examines the ethical issues surrounding the undertaking of social work research. It begins by identifying the rationale for ethical research behaviour and then discusses the nature of ethics and social work as a basis for a social work and social care ethical research code. This is then followed up by a discussion of ethical issues as related to the research process and is divided into issues before the research commences, during the research and after the research has been completed. This chapter takes the perspective that ethics is not a ‘bolt on’ but an inherent, demanding and ongoing part of the research process (Humphries and Martin, 2000). Ethics, in its grandest form, may be recognised as a philosophical discipline whose primary concern is the science of morality. Ethics though takes on a more distinctive form when applied to social research. Here ethics refers to the standards established within ...

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