Related resources

General guidance on research ethics

There is quite a variety of text books available on research ethics for social sciences and related disciplines.  Whilst systems of ethics review and regulatory requirements change quite rapidly, the core ethics principles in social science research have not dated so quickly - although the way in which they are expressed may change.  So it is worth looking in your library for relevant ethics texts.  Most research methods textbooks also provide some information about research ethics considerations, although they do not always go into much depth. 

It is also worth looking at the Social Science Research Ethics webpages, developed by Christine Milligan and colleagues at the University of Lancaster, which include in-depth guidance in relation to core themes in research ethics. 

Iphofen, R. (2009) Ethical Decision Making in Social Research.  A practical guide.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

A recent publication, which provides a thorough and accessible overview, with up-to-date practical guidance.  This book is also useful because it is UK focused - legal requirements and ethics review systems may be quite different in other countries, and so this is something to watch out for if you are buying an ethics textbook.

Mertens, D.M. and Ginsberg, P.E. (Eds) (2008)  The Handbook of Social Research Ethics.  London: Sage.

A very comprehensive (almost 700 pages) international edited volume covering a wide range of areas, and written by key experts in the field.

Israel, M., and Hay, I. (2006)  Research Ethics for Social Scientists. London: Sage.

A useful overview of key issues and principles, by Australian authors, but covering core ethics principles and considerations.

Van Maanen, J. (1983) The Moral Fix: On the Ethics of Fieldwork, in R. E. Emerson (ed) Contemporary Field Research: A Collection of Readings, Boston: Little, Brown and Company.

An interesting discussion of the ethics of covert research.