Sociology and Ethics

Doing the Right Thing
  • Lisa-Jo K. van den ScottEmail author
Living reference work entry


The state of ethics in sociology today hinges, in part, on models which are inappropriate for many forms of social science research and, in part, on the move away from the hegemony of these models, with varying success across countries and regions. Australia and parts of Europe, for example, have made considerable strides in this matter. Considerations of ethics in sociology have expanded dramatically in a turn toward recognizing the agency of those whom we study. Conversations today center around mitigating power dynamics between researchers and participants, reflexivity on the part of the researcher, and an engagement with feminist and Indigenous methods. This has led to a proliferation of work on community-based research and the importance of trust-based relationships in social science work. Concerns around anonymity and confidentiality remain but are often at odds with the movement toward community-based and public policy research. Debates emphasize the challenge of doing ethical research under the current regime of regulatory boards which operate in a legalistic and often exclusively positivist framework.


Sociology Reflexivity Power dynamics Feminist methods Indigenous methods Ethics review 


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Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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