Aims To Help Researchers In Social Sciences And Humanities (SSH) Identify And Address Ethical Dimensions: Academic Study Skills Assignment, UOG, Ireland

Introduction

This document aims to help researchers in social sciences and humanities (SSH) identify and address ethical dimensions when involved in research and innovation actions financed by the EU Framework Programme. It is also designed to help the wider research community deal with the ethical issues that may arise in interdisciplinary research using SSH methodology. Used together with other guidance documents provided by the European Commission, it should help you integrate research ethics in your proposal and your research.

Rapid technological development and political upheavals in recent years have raised new research ethics concerns, requiring sensitivity to identify ethically problematic areas in SSH research. Increasing use of the internet and social media data in research methodology is a case in point.

Crises outside the Europe Union (EU), coupled with migration, have given rise to new, socially important issues, requiring the involvement of new, potentially vulnerable groups of people in research, but also calling for social science research in crisis areas.2 The many important topics to be addressed by SSH research demand attention to research ethics. It is important to guarantee safe conditions for research participation for people who may benefit from research, but also for researchers themselves.

Much of the advice below is widely available in various literature and guidance documents published by funding bodies, communities of SSH researchers, learned societies, and professional organizations. Their role continues to be central for SSH researchers. This document is designed to give practical advice on integrating ethics into the planned research by providing, wherever possible, checklists for points at which a pause is needed to reflect and plan the action to be taken.

While this document focuses on more formal aspects of research ethics compliance associated with SSH research, it also draws attention to ethics in research practice and day-to-day research work, and identifies ways to integrate ethical conduct in your research. Hence, it highlights two ethical dimensions of research: ‘procedural ethics’, pertaining to the aspects of compliance in performing research, and ‘ethics in practice’, the everyday ethical issues that arise while doing research.

According to the European Charter for Researchers, Researchers should focus their research for the good of mankind and for expanding the frontiers of scientific knowledge, while enjoying the freedom of thought and expression, and the freedom to identify methods by which problems are solved, according to recognised ethical principles and practices.

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