and Section # of Summary 11 The chapter discusses the major ethical issues involved in the research work for criminologists. I will elucidate the main problems that the researcher faces in the research work in criminology and criminal justice. The chapter points out that there are four main ethical issues that the brazen out the social scientists including the criminologists: confidentiality, informed consent, harms and benefits and relationships.
The most important ethical issue in the criminologist research relates to the aftermath of the interaction of the researcher and the criminal. The researchers try their best that there is no negative impact of their entry into their lives so they maintain the confidentiality and the privacy of the participants’ information. The threats to the confidentiality of the data are rare but occur often and therefore, the researchers take every possible precaution to protect the data. At the same time, they maintain agreements with the government agencies such as police, customs and tax agents to thwart any demand for the disclosure of information. Basically, the harm to the participant of the disclosing of the information is greater than the benefits to the society at large and therefore, poses an immense ethical issue for criminologists.
Protection of the privacy of the personal information of the participant of the criminologists’ research poses another threat to the ethics of the society. The benefits to the society of the research must be weighed against the harms done by the disclosure of the information. At times, the researchers complain that the privacy law prevents them from the active beneficial research work. The disclosure of the personal information related to homicides, sexual abuses and frauds could jeopardize the safety of the respective participants. Therefore to ensure the safety of these people and the researchers, the reports and all other work related to research was anonymised.
Informed consent is another issue that confronts the criminologists. The participants must be provided with the lucid understanding of the research objectives and the consent process so that they are aware of all the possible interactions as well as possible dangers to them. The interests and the freedom of the participants must be protected from the researchers and that informed consent must be taken. The criminologists have the probability and the potential to affect the wellbeing of the participants as well as their future economic interests. These researchers must try to minimize the harm to the individual and at the same time, provide for the maximizing benefits to the participant as well as society. For instance: Researchers working on the corruption, violence and pollution should try to minimize the loss to these corporate entities as an ethical goal.
Another important ethical dilemma concerning the criminologists’ research work is the interpersonal relationship. Children and young people are often confronted with scenarios that have a long lasting impact on their lives. At the same time, conflicts of interest arise from situations. Researchers tend to favor those that provide them with the necessary funding.
Israel, M. Major Ethical Issues for Criminologists Ethics and governance of criminology research in Australia. (2004) pp. 18-