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Mini Literature Review

Mini Activity Assignment#2: Ethics

You can do this assignment individually or in pairs (both individuals must submit the same project with their names on the title page).
The purpose of this assignment is to make you familiar with the Canadian Sociological Association’s (CSA) Statement of Professional Ethics and Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS2).
Review the following Ethics Guidelines of CSA and TCPS2 before addressing the Case Studies.
1. Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS) Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (Note: on page 3, it states how to cite this document on your reference page)
2. Canadian Sociological Association’s (CSA) Statement of Professional Ethics
For guidelines about referencing direct and indirect quotes correctly, see the following site
APA & MLA (Humber Library and/or OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab. Failure to properly reference constitutes plagiarism and will result in an automatic grade of zero. Students who commit this serious academic offense will be reported to the college for academic misconduct.
 While considering the TCPS2 and CSA, analyze the following case studies. Please address each section of questions adequately and refer to the ethical guidelines whenever needed and cite accordingly.
Case Study 1: Intimate Partner Violence
You are doing a study on Intimate Partner Violence. You have already received approval for your research from the Humber Research Ethics Board (REB). Before conducting your study, you have already obtained written informed consent from your participant. During the interview, the participant experienced emotional and psychological distress. The consent form also details all possible risks of causing discomfort or distress from discussing particular issues in the interview.
 a. What are your obligations to the participant to reduce harm related to anxiety during the interview?
b. Would you continue your interview? Why or why not.
c. Please explain whether your research participants have the right to decline to answer any
question, withdraw their agreement to participate at any time during the study, and have their data withdrawn without reprisal?
Case Study2: Laud Humphreys and the Tearoom Trade:
In the 1960s, a Ph.D. student in sociology, Laud Humphreys, studied men who have sex with other men in public restrooms of city parks. These restrooms were known as “tearooms.” Humphreys got his information by acting as “watch queen,” playing the role of a lookout and warning the men if anyone was coming. The men involved did not know he was a researcher. In addition to recording the sex acts of over 100 men, Humphreys had a small subset who knew he was a researcher and spoke to him about sex in public places and homosexuality (which was in the 1960s criminalized in the United States). Humphreys wanted to understand the relationship between these men’s anonymous homosexual acts and their public lives. He recorded their licence plates as they returned to their cars and then found out their
addresses. A year later, he changed his hair, dress, and car and went to the home of 50 of these men. Portraying himself as a social health researcher, he interviewed them under false pretences to gain information on their marital status, sexuality, sexual orientations, and occupations. At the time of Humphreys’ research having sex with men was a crime in most of the U.S. Men could be arrested and sentenced to years in prison for it. If the police had got hold of Humphreys’ data or if the identities of the men involved had been revealed, they would have been severely stigmatised, their family lives ruined, they could have lost their jobs, or even been arrested and imprisoned. Humphreys argued he was doing nothing wrong in not identifying himself as a researcher. He was merely observing behavior in public spaces and said he masqueraded as a gay “watch queen” to not interfere with the research. Most social scientists agree that observing people’s acts in public spaces is not unethical if people are not identified. On the risk that his notes could have been seized to identify men engaged in illegal acts said he would have risked going to jail rather than handing them over. Others have said no researcher should have such power over others, no matter how good their intentions are. Most have found it a serious ethical violation of the way he disguised himself and went to mens’ homes under a false pretense, invading their privacy. Humphreys argued his deception was justified as the acts were so stigmatized he would not have got the information otherwise.
 1. How do you define the concept of covert research and deception in this study?
2. What aspects of Humphreys’ study do you think were unethical?
3. If you were conducting this study, how would you address consent, confidentiality, harms, and benefits
to the participants?
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