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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Interactive Ethics

Friday, October 12th, 2018

Following-on from the previous post where I suggested how it might be possible to spin-off a discussion of research ethics from a naturalistic observation simulation, my attention was drawn towards this interesting offering from the Open University – an online “interactive challenge” designed to help students understand “why research ethics is really a researcher’s best friend”.

As you may have noticed, the OU Marketing Department seems pretty gung-ho in they’re advocacy of ethical considerations in social research.

And rightly so.

Probably.

Anyway. In this simple interactive challenge you’re “taken through a case to look at where and when you think the ethics committee might step in and why this would be necessary. Meet a fictional committee and become a member!”.

In other words, you’re introduced to a range of characters who might conceivably be part of a University Committee and then asked to give your opinion, based on the evidence presented, as to whether the research submission under consideration (“the role of the police and their attitudes towards sex worker ‘zones of tolerance’ i.e. the way sex workers may be allowed to operate in certain controlled areas in some UK cities) is ethical across four main criteria:

• Valid Consent
• Do no harm
• Data Protection
• Researcher safety

In basic terms you’re presented with some text about the proposed conduct of the research and then asked to give an opinion about its ethicality (a word I may just have invented) in relation to any of these categories.

The challenge only takes a few minutes (probably 15 at the most) and it’s a really neat way to introduce students to ethics, ethical issues and the role of an ethics committee.

It’s also Quite Good Fun.

Not words usually associated with a lesson on Ethics.

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Naturalistic Observation Lesson Plan

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

I’m a firm believer that when it comes to teaching research methods you can never have too many examples of lesson plans that either simulate the process of “doing research” or, as in the case of Bernard C. Beins (Counting Fidgets: Teaching the Complexity of Naturalistic Observation), turn it into a simple, but effective, lesson activity that:

• is easy to set-up and run
• requires very few resources
• involves very little pre-preparation
• is unobtrusive and relatively short
• produces a large amount of data for discussion, analysis and evaluation.

While the lesson plan is explicitly aimed at psychology students it’s equally useful for sociologists, because the overall objective is simply to provide a context – the classroom activity – that can be used to analyse and evaluate naturalistic observation in terms of its strengths and weaknesses.

And if you want to introduce your students to these ideas you could always throw a short video into the pre-discussion mix: Naturalistic Observation is available On-Demand to buy or rent as well as being available on our Non-Experimental Research Methods DVD that also includes Self-Report Methods, Correlations and Case Studies.

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The Sociological Detectives: Hiding in Plain Sight

Friday, April 6th, 2018

In this third outing in the Research Methods series, the Sociological Detectives investigate Overt Participant Observation through a simple piece of hands-on research.

This PowerPoint Presentation – the 3rd in the Research Methods series (the others being The Research Process and Non-Participant Observation) – combines a hands-on approach to doing Overt Participant Observation with a classroom-based evaluation of the method.

Students take-on the role of Sociological Detectives which, in this instance, means they are set “a Task” to complete (it’s probably no great secret that this involves doing a simple bit of Overt Participant Observation) outside of class time.

Students can then use their (brief) experience of using the method to inform the evaluation work they then do inside the classroom.

While actually doing the Observation is not essential (the Task Options document that outlines some suggestions for how the Observation might be carried-out includes a simple Thought Experiment option for classrooms where, for whatever reason, students can’t physically carry-out this type of observational research) it does, I think, represent a useful teaching and learning device.

It is, in this respect, a relatively simple – and hopefully interesting – way for students to bring their personal experiences to bear on the more-theoretical aspects of sociological research. (more…)

Psychology Learning Tables | 2

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Convention dictates this second set of Learning Tables, primarily the work of Miss G. Banton (with one notable exception that I’ll explain in a moment) follows the first set of Tables and since this is not a rule I’m overly-inclined to break it’s only seems right-and-proper this should be the case.

These Tables are broadly-designed to cover Knowledge (Assessment Objective 1) and Evaluation (Assessment Objective 3) and while the latter uses relatively simple “for” and “against” arguments, an added dimension is created using a “PEEL” design. This, in case you’re not familiar with the mnemonic has the further advantage of encouraging students to structure exam answers in a specific way.

Without further ado, therefore, the following Tables are available for your downloading pleasure:

Endogenous Pacemakers and Exogenous Zeitgebers AO1 and AO3
Ethical implications of research studies and theory AO1 AND AO3

Free Will vs Determinism AO1 and AO3

Gender Bias AO1 and AO3

Holism and reductionism AO1 and AO3
Humanistic psychology LT

Idiographic and nomothetic approaches AO1 and AO3

Localisation and Function of the brain AO1 and AO3

The final set of Tables, created by Melissa Yeadon, are slightly different in that they’re designed to take the student through the research process – from initial hypothesis to understanding ethical considerations – and involve some student input (mainly in the shape of having to answer questions at various points). In all there are 10 Tables in this set.

Learning Tables Planning Research 

The Sociological Detectives: Trial: And Error

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

The latest addition to the burgeoning Sociological Detectives™ Universe is a role-playing simulation of the Research Process – and Popper’s Hypothetico-Deductive Model of Scientific Research in particular – that uses the analogy of a criminal investigation to help students understand and experience how and why the research process is structured.

The simulation takes the students through a number of stages in the investigation – from identifying a problem to prosecuting the guilty party – that mirror the different stages in Popper’s Model.

The basic idea here is that the role-playing element, whereby students are faced with a range of suspects and evidence from which they have to choose one individual they believe the evidence shows is guilty, adds an interesting dimension to what can be a fairly dry and difficult-to-teach area – particularly if you don’t have the time or resources to engage in some hands-on application. (more…)

Chinese Parents’ Involvement in Children’s Education

Monday, October 9th, 2017

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that from time-to-time we’ve been able to feature research done by Richard Driscoll’s Sociology A-level students at the Shenzhen College of International Education in China and the latest study to come our way, by Ma Jia Ying, looks at the involvement of Chinese parents in decisions made by their sons and daughters about what to study in higher education.

The research should be interesting to UK teachers and students for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, it gives a comparative cultural insight into family relationships and educational processes in an area that will be familiar to many UK students – the extent to which family pressures impact on the choices made by individual students in terms of their future educational careers.

Secondly, another interesting dimension is the construction and implementation of the research itself: this is made manifest in areas like the choices made by the researcher in terms of sampling, research methods, reliability, validity and so forth, their awareness of methodological uses and limitations and their evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of their research.

If you want to get in touch with Richard about this research, his students or maybe to make a fruitful contact between your school / college students and his – you can contact him via his Twitter account

Conducting Psychological Research

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

This is a free chapter, from an unpublished textbook by Shelia Kennison of Oklahoma State University, that you can either read online or download as a pdf document.

The chapter covers a range of ideas and issues focused on the research process:

• different research methodologies
• causality
• experimentation
• representative sampling
• reliability and validity
• Type I and Type II errors
• ethics

The text also includes a couple of pages of “key terms” plus a set of questions based on the text designed to assess student understanding.

While it’s not exactly ground-breaking in terms of content and design it seems solid enough for A-level / AP Psychology.

11 | The Research Process: Part 4

Monday, September 25th, 2017

The final part of the Research Methods chapter covers the use of mixed methods in the context of sociological research and is split into three theoretically-discrete, but related, areas:

1. Methodological pluralism involves the idea of combining methodologies, methods and data types to arrive at a more-rounded, reliable and valid insight into social behaviour.

2. Types of Triangulation outlines how researchers can use different types of triangulation – specifically, methodological, researcher and data – as a practical way of improving research reliability and validity.

3. The final section look at a range of Practical. Ethical and Theoretical research considerations and how these relate to both choice of topic and method.

Although the chapter relates directly to the OCR Specification there should still be plenty here for teachers and students following other Specifications.

8 | The Research Process: Part 1

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

While Research Methods at a-level aren’t everyone’s cup of tea they can be interesting if students are given the time and space to bring together the theory with the practice. Unfortunately I can’t help you here with the practice (although I can give you a few pointers about how to carry-out a range of cheap ’n’ cheerful activities), but I can help with the theory.

This chapter kicks things off by looking at the idea of research design – from choosing a problem to research, through developing a testable hypothesis or research question, to data collection and analysis. Along the way the chapter takes in a range of research-centred ideas students will have to understand if they are to make the most of methods:

• Research respondents
• Types of representative sampling
• Types of non-representative sampling
• Pilot studies
• Concept operationalisation
• Reliability and validity
• Primary and secondary data
• Quantitative and qualitative data and methods
• Ethics

NotAFactsheet: Research Ethics

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

This NotAFactsheet on Research Ethics is a slight departure from previous NotAFactsheets in that it comes in two flavours:

1. The normal “text with box-outs and pictures-if-you’re-lucky” version.

2.  An experimental version with an added bit of embedded video (click-the-pic-to-play).

Although not ideal, the video is in Flash (.flv) format for reasons that are much too boring to go into. Plus, the .flv format can be quite heavily compressed and means the video doesn’t add too many megabytes to the pdf file. I’ve deliberately kept the clip short – it just illustrates a simple mnemonic that I cut out of one of our films on Ethics – because it’s essentially just a test to see which people prefer.

If you choose this option you’ll need to download the pdf file because atm it won’t play online (probably).

 

A-Level Psychology Revision Films

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

With the exam season nearly upon us, the thoughts of students and teachers inexorably turn once more to the annual ritual known as revision.

And if you want to try something a bit different – whether you’re a teacher looking to introduce a range of revision topics or a student looking for something visual to break-up the textbook slog – we have a range of on-demand revision films at a very reasonable price to help.

Our On-demand service gives you access to our short, sharp and tightly-focused films specifically designed for A-level Psychology – each with the emphasis on key exam knowledge, interpretation and evaluation.

Our rental service gives you the opportunity to watch:

  • When you want – any number of times over a 48-hour period for a single payment.
  • Where you want – on your mobile, tablet or desktop.

 

To get you started, here’s 4 films you can watch for free:

 

If you want to see more, free previews are available for each of the following: 

 

On Being Sane in Insane Places

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

David Rosenhan’s “pseudopatient experiment” is a classic study for both sociologists and psychologists, that raises a range of interesting questions relating to areas like mental illness, labelling theory and ethics.

Rosenhan’s research was designed to discover if doctors could correctly diagnose mental illness. If they couldn’t, this would tell us something very important about the relationship between mental illness and labelling – that mental illness is not an objective category but a subjective condition; it is, in other words, whatever medical professionals claim it to be – a situation that has hugely-important ramifications for contemporary ideas about crime and deviance, for example.

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Ethics: Adding Research Funding into the Mix

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Ethics refer to the morality of doing something and ethical questions relating to research involve beliefs about what a researcher should or should not do before, during and after their research. As a matter of course, this normally includes considering both legal and safety issues

  1. Legal considerations include things like:
  • Legality: e.g. Breaching Data Protection laws, participating in or encouraging criminal behaviour.
  • Power: e.g. bullying or blackmailing (emotionally or physically).
  • Mistreating (physically or verbally) or misleading participants.
  • Getting the informed consent of those being researched.
  1. Safety considerations include things like:
  • Ensuring the physical and psychological safety of researcher and respondent
  • Not causing distress to potentially vulnerable people.

There is another ethical dimension we can add that relates to neither of these areas, but which is nevertheless an important ethical consideration and concern, namely the sources of any research funding. “Who pays?” (and more pertinently perhaps, “What do they want in return for their money?”) is an ethical dimension to socio-psychology research that’s worth remembering

NGfL Cymru: AS Sociology Online Resource

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Unlike its English counterpart – the late, unlamented, “National” Grid for Learning that slowly expired around 10 years ago in a puddle of wasted money and opportunities – NGfL Cymru continues to develop free online educational resources – one of which just happens to be this new AS Sociology site.

As it currently stands the resource offers AS Research Methods, divided into 10 sections (from Design through Ethics to Primary and Secondary Methods) involving a mix of short text and videos to get the main ideas across.

Each section is introduced through a set of Aims and Key Points before covering the main ideas students need to grasp through clear, concise “textbook-length” text (written by experienced teacher, examiner and author Janis Griffiths) and concluding with a downloadable (pdf) Revision Checklist document students and teachers can use to check understanding.

For some reason best-known to the designers, to change the default language from Welsh to English you need to click on the “CYMRAEG” text at the bottom of the screen.