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Ethical Issues and

Ethics Defined
The branch of philosophy dealing with
values relating to human conduct, with
respect to the rightness or wrongness
of certain actions and to the goodness
and badness of the motives at the end
of such actions.
Research ethics concerns our
relationships with ourselves, with the
individuals we study, with our
colleagues with whom we work, with
the community of scientists to which
we belong and with society as a whole.
(Anderson, 1987)
Researchers should not only be focused
on the quality of the knowledge being
produced but also consider the
rightness or wrongness of our actions
as qualitative researchers with relation
to our research respondents and
colleagues. (Miles, 1994)
Ignorance about ethics itself is
unethical (Mirvis and Seashore, 1982)
Safeguarding respondents
- Respondents are exposed to antisocial
content, relationships are put in jeopardy by
subjecting them to soul searching
interrogation, etc.
To protect respondents, researchers need to
employ informed consent which means
that the respondent has been made aware of
the potential physical, psychological, and
moral risks.

It is not a mumbled statement (Anderson,

Weak consent leads to poorer data.
Respondents will try to protect themselves
in a mistrusted relationship.

Studies in communication rarely involve

physical risks, but many involve
psychological risks.
Seven principles of informed consent
(Chadwick et al., 1984):

1. An accurate description of research

procedures and purposes

2. A description of the risks must be

3. A description of benefits for the subject
and the scientific discipline

4. Disclosure of any alternative procedures

5. An offer to answer questions

6. The instruction that the subject is free to

withdraw from the research

7. An explanation if compensation is
available should there be any physical
Voluntary participation
- Respondents should be informed that
participation in the study is voluntary

- it is sometimes impossible to follow this

practice, in cases where you feel justified in
violating it, it is all the more important to
observe the other ethical norms of research.
(Baxter and Babbie, 2003)
- It is the obligation of the researcher to
inform the respondents after they were
observed, giving them the option of having
their data withdrawn if they feel
uncomfortable with the study.
Harm and Risk
- research should never injure the people
being studied

- What might this study do to hurt the people

involved? How likely will such harm occur?
To whom shall harm be done and in what
- Deceiving respondents on the nature of your
inquiry is unethical (Baxter and Babbie,

- Am I telling the truth? Am I revealing my

true identity?
Privacy, confidentiality, and anonymity

- In what ways will my study intrude the

respondents? How will information be
guarded? How identifiable are the
individuals and organizations studied?
Sieber (1992) defined the three terms:
1. Privacy control over others access to the

2. Confidentiality agreements with the

person or organization about what will be
done (and may not be done) with their
3. Anonymity lack of identifiers,
information that would indicate which
individuals or organizations provided
which data.
Respecting the Data
- A researcher bears the responsibility to be
true to his or her data

- The researcher is obliged to capture the

phenomenon fairly and accurately with
utmost honesty and integrity. Falsification is
not allowed in a good communication
- Researchers should not write fictitious
contents. Fictions occur when the
descriptions are not documented in
observation, when statements that were
never said are presented as quotations,
when the action is filled out to make sense,
when inexistent characters are presented,
Sleaze and Smutch by Kathleen
Maltzahn (A critique)
Goddesses of the
Lust Triangle by
Arnel De Guzman

Mr. De Guzman is a
well known human
rights advocate and
executive director of
He has a "personal commitment to explore
the issues of exploitation of Filipinas

Goddesses of the Lust Triangle describes

itself as an attempt to "contribute to a
deeper understanding of the phenomenon
of women working in Manila's erotic dance
He enters the bars, watches the strip shows,
invites the women to his table and fondles
their bodies. I can't see what take-off point
these provide, except for male supremacists
out to consolidate their feelings of
"We breathlessly awaited [Aiko's] re-entry into
the room for the much-awaited "shower and
lotion" portion. She was really well-endowed.
Her breasts were round and firm. The nipples
were not so big and a little pinkish. The mound
between her shapely thighs was bushy. Handling
[Engineer Nelson] a bar of soap, she poured
some water from a small pitcher onto her
smooth and shiny body... Dutifully, Nelson did as
he was told.... [He] rubbed her behind. Since it
was not forbidden to scrub her luscious breasts,
he also massaged her melon-like boobs... In her
second set, Aiko returned... Nelson was the first
to massage her body with the lotion. But this
time, she allowed us to participate in the act."
It is not about "goddesses" but gods: men
who believe themselves to be the masters of
women and their bodies. It shows the lack of
compassion and intelligence of supposedly
mature, even politically progressive men,
and it underscores how irrelevant the likes
and dislikes of these women and girls are.
"Bruce held her waist and sucked her two
erect prune-like nipples. We were envious
so each complained loudly. "It is unfair. How
about us? Oh, she even gyrated". Lyka
ignores us completely. She just continued
swaying to the music as if savoring each
word. "Close your eyes, I'd like to see you
tonight in my sweet dreams."
"...these are instances when these victims
become the "victimizers." They take their
"revenge" on the customers... These
customers are stripped off their money.
The women twiddle them around their
fingers. It is too late when they realize that
they have been scored at. The world of the
exotic dancers in the "lust triangle" is a
complicated one. The world of Aiko and
Medina and Patricia Jones is definitely not
a one-dimensional world. Enter their
world at your own risk."
Goddesses of the Lust Triangle is a
sleazy little book, It capitalizes on
women's pain and feeds off their
bodies. It reminds us how ordinary,
supposedly decent and enlightened
men can still see women as less than
human. It reminds us of what it means
to live in a world where men are gods,
and women their playthings. And it
reminds us of the need to work for a
world where we can bring down the
gods from their heights, and all live
equally as human beings with dignity
and value.
Advice (Miles, 1994)
1. Awareness
2. Anticipation
3. Preliminary agreements
4. Regular checking and Renegotiation