Political Science Research on Ethical Problems Analysis


A good and successful political science research should hold a good human factor attribute, which include; accountability, integrity, responsibility, loyalty, motivation, wisdom, honesty, commitment, vision, skills, dedication, creativity, knowledge, trustworthy and ethnic sensitivity. Those individuals who advocate for professional ethics assert that research ethics must be adhered to in all settings of undertaking research. A quality research is the one done while observing ethics protects the respondent against encroachments of his or her freedom (Douglas 1979). A morally sensitive political research entails establishing considerate contact and awareness of the well being of the respondents who participate in it. A proper conducted political science research should be done on the basis of mutual respect which means that there should be no dishonesty and going against the ethics of conducting research.

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Any research that involves people directly raises moral concerns. Whereas it is not at all times probable to make dissimilarity between what is ethically correct and incorrect in the course of the research, every researcher ought to be guided by some doctrines in terms of what should be done and what should not be done in research. While acknowledging that each study circumstances raises ethical dilemmas for the people who are doing it, the challenges confronting those doing the research in their very own communities are so many (Plummer 1990). Majority of the challenges that arise are as a result of the negligence of the researcher to follow the study ethics to the later.

However Ethical doctrine and Practices in many political sciences research involving human participants which have been done, have not always adhered to the research ethics as far as protection of the well fare of the research participants is concerned. In most cases researchers usually carry out the researches without prior knowledge or awareness of violating the traditions and culture of the specific group of population where the research is done, this is unethical as far as research ethics is concerned (British Sociological Association, 1993).

Advocates for quality and ethical political sciences research have remained silent on the above mentioned issue. But as it is well known protection of people’s welfare when conducting research which involves them should be a well informed aspect in the minds of the researchers who are executing the research, this standard is usually not always observed for many researches which have been done so far.

In many political sciences research being carried out the researches are usually aimed at possibly helping in coming up with policy or programs which might help in alleviating the problem being researched on, the respondents are always enthusiastic about the findings of that research, but there has been cases where the researches have been done then after deducing the findings the researching firm or institute does not get back to the population which was used for the research to either inform them of the findings or the intended developments as a result of the research that was carried. This in totality is going against the research morals which demand that the findings should always be communicated to the respondents whenever they are published, and lack of adhering to this code in away compromises the welfare and interests of the respondents (May1997).

In the past some cases of violation of research ethics have been reported especially, the research in questions violated the protection of human participants (Bulmer 1982). In the year nineteen seventy for example when Humphries published the tea room, it led to criticism from social scientists for apparent moral violation in Humphries study of homosexual’s lifestyle and culture. Humphries had lingered in restrooms and truck stop and had observed the homosexuals activities and recorded about their dealings (Humphries 1970). Also in the year nineteen seventy nine Kotrabas Joe’s research of intimacy in one public jail room led to sharply misguided and rather logical criticism for violation of ethics. The spectacular cyber-culture findings of internet pornography by Mellon Carnegie, which later featured in Time magazine was heavily criticized for having violated methodological and ethical standards of conducting research (Bulmer 1979). All these and many more cases of violation of research ethics of studies conducted in the past, have grossly unprotected the human participants in those researches (Christopher 1998).

As much as research is important, it should be done in a very rational and proper way, the researcher should be very honest with the respondents and with the process itself, honesty will lead to a good finding since it will really be the representative of what is on the ground, it will also make the respondents to develop confidence in participating in the process and they will even allow the researcher to access very useful information which they will not have released without acknowledging the honesty of the researcher. When undertaking the research process itself one should avoid commenting on the obvious issues he or she sees to be affecting the respondents since this might demoralize the participant and make the respondent to become emotional. There are even some comments and observations which a researcher can make which might even be so sensitive to an extent of raising anger in the respondent prompting the respondent to over-react which is a very bad reputation to the researcher and also to the personal integrity of the respondent (Bell and Roberts 1984).

Commitment to the interests and advancement of the community’s interests should also be a responsibility of a researcher the researcher should know that he or she can not escape from the consequences of the research process by moving far from the community or by ignoring the probable long term proceedings which will come as a result of the activity. Every political science researcher should create an enabling environment for the multiplicity of voices in the community to be heard, in this way the respondents will speak out whatever has been in their minds and by so they will have a feeling of having shared their feelings to someone who will probably help them to address their problems at hand. There is a call for guiding the community when need arises against political correctness once a respondent shows different perception towards developmental issues. Morally determined research ought to be done with critic and consciousness.

Although it is occasionally hard to ascertain what the real elemental values are, researchers should take a critical look at the community’s values to act as a guide to the research processes. In most cases the researcher is not certain about what is wring or right in a given community, since every community has its own different morals and traditions different from other communities. An individual who conducts research without taking into consideration of the human participants will defiantly perform a mistake in the process of administering his or her intended activities which are of moral perspective. Ethical caring is the basis on which mutual trust between the respondent and the researcher is built in the process of research (Poster, 1990). In addition to caring there are essential human ideals that add up to the way a respondent opens up to the researcher.

In the research process there will at some instances be cross-cultural differences in the way the respondents will respond or react to the researcher’s questionnaire or research interview. The differences in response are usually due to the differences in perception, taking every response from every respondent seriously will foster a good relationship between the researcher and the respondent, which then makes the respondent to be certain that his o her participation in the research was helpful and important (Mascarenhas-Keys 1987).

Researches which involve both men and women, if not well designed can lead to an up rise in gender insensitivity which in itself can breach the research ethics and process of research. Hence every research involving both men and women should be designed in a way that gives proper respect to both the women and men who participate in the study (Christopher 1998). Sexual characteristics sensitivity is something researchers who involve the human participants must endeavor to accomplish in order to get nearer to attaining a holistic analysis of their investigation settings. Concern, empathy and sensitivity for research participants are key moral issues in the heart of the research process (Finch 1993).

In instances where a man is studying women, the man who is the researcher, should be aware of the discourse and conversation analysis which gives clues to the emotions and meanings in relations with respondents (Finch 1993).

In research a dilemma might appear when the researcher considers the finality of his or her work before and after collection of data. There is no possible way of preempting all the possible challenges which might arise as a result of executing the study since there is no definite way of telling in advance what the project might lead to. Hence when doing a research whatever the researcher considers to be a safe act at that particular time might end up to be unsafe in the future. Hence there is a definite need for the researcher to be cautious and guard the identity of the respondents, just for the sake of changes which might come up tomorrow, which might create tensions within the individual in terms of what the individual knows from the research process.

A quality research is normally as a result of mutual trust and respect between the research participants and the researcher. The aspect of a researcher manipulating the respondent to enable the researcher to deduce very sensitive findings from the respondent usually constitutes dishonesty and immoral practices. This is kind of research practices should be avoided by all means. The researcher who adheres to proper conduct and good research practices should avoid pretence as much as possible. Research work is not only done for monetary purposes; it should entail authentic awareness and shared respect of respondents. A researcher needs to remain realistic during the entire process of contact with the respondent; this reduces the level of pretence. Researchers should not indulge in the vice of lying to the respondents (Barnes, 1979: 16).

Sometimes contribution in community’s activities confers a number of tasks and prospects from the side of the researcher. The researcher should attend and visit some social functions and places. The research process demands have the potential to create disagreement in terms of what type of contribution and the type of activities the researcher should engage in. However, in the collection of data situation which lasts almost a period of six months to even a year the dissonance which arises due to conflicts as a result of pressures coming from different groups can be hectic to a researcher hence there is need of the researcher being aware of how to go about dealing with such problems.

A researcher should try to search for an understanding of how the community is; he or she should understand the community’s values, and what actions can lead to the interference of their wellbeing. There is important need for the researcher to do away with his or her assumptions regarding the community by studying people’s behavior and lifestyle in order to come up with an informed judgment about the social-psychological condition of the community under study. Researchers should not therefore try to impose his or her values and beliefs to the community ().

During the process of research the researcher should not be in a hurry to undertake whatever he she is doing in conjunction with the respondent, sometimes the hurry might be demeaning to the respondent. There are cases when the respondent’s talks a lot even to an extent of going away from answering the question which the researcher might have asked, some respondents even bring on board some of their social and economical problems and ask for the helping hand of the researcher. These scenarios and many more are rarely highlighted in research guides or manuals yet they do occur in the field. The delicate and intricate issues regarding respondent’s life usually have a great deal to do with the researcher, this usually calls for the researcher to step aside his prime objective and take the role of a counselor (Oakley 1981).


In conclusion, special care must be taken in order to protect the wellbeing of research participants. The prime interest of the participant should also be taken into consideration and that the researcher should not subject the participants to any harm at all the processes of research. Guidelines to how the researcher should go away with his or her undertakings should be thoroughly studied, comprehended and keenly followed in the field in order for the researcher to be able to conduct a quality research which also protects the morals and wellbeing of the community (Warwick and Pettigrew 1983). The researcher carrying out a political science research should consider himself as a long term member of community he or she is conducting the research. When adhering to ethical guidelines the researcher should always balance ethical codes with the experiences and should also try as much as possible to relate to the participants in a way which is respectable and enhances social justice to the society (Kimmer 1988).


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