Good and proper: Considering ethics in practice research.
SO: Australian-Social-Work. 50(4): 29-36, Dec. 1997.
As social workers increasingly take up the challenge of researching social work practice, ethical issues arise for which they have been inadequately prepared. With the growth of qualitative data collection methods that better suit many practice research enterprises, more assistance has become available on ethical and political issues, but it is argued here that the convergence of practice and research in agency settings poses distinctive dilemmas. These center on social work’s complex unit of attention and the consequent need for multidimensional research strategies, and on the status of the practitioner-researcher who often straddles both practice and research domains, whether as an insider or outsider to the research site. As agencies accelerate their efforts to provide guidelines and structures to manage ethical research, social workers themselves should take the initiative to shape these structures to retain flexible and creative research opportunities. (Journal abstract.)
Only thencan realists’ attempts to “explain away” moraldisagreement be fairly assessed.Richard Brandt, who was a pioneer in the effort to integrate ethicaltheory and the social sciences, looked primarily to anthropology tohelp determine whether moral attitudes can be expected to convergeunder idealized circumstances.
The convergence of the social and physical sciences; of science and spirituality; of art and science and of other previously isolated fields of endeavor and belief will be, I believe, the hallmark of this century.
Social disorganization is a theoretical perspective that explains ecological differences in levels of crime based on structural and cultural factors shaping the nature of the social order across communities. This approach narrowed the focus of earlier sociological studies on the covariates of urban growth to examine the spatial concentration and stability of rates of criminal behavior. According to the social disorganization framework, such phenomena are triggered by the weakened social integration of neighborhoods because of the absence of self-regulatory mechanisms, which in turn are due to the impact of structural factors on social interactions or the presence of delinquent subcultures. The former process defines disorganization as the reflection of low levels of social control generated by socioeconomic disadvantage, residential turnover, and population heterogeneity; the latter highlights the convergence of conflicting cultural standards in poor neighborhoods and the emergence of group behavior linked to criminality. Research on communities and crime has generally been inspired by these two approaches, although the most prevalent formulation emphasizes the association between aggregate rates of crime and delinquency and the structural nature of community-based social controls. Overall, the social disorganization perspective has benefited from increasing scholarly attention in the form of further specification of the ecological mechanisms linking attributes of communities to aggregate levels of crime, the modeling of relationships across levels of analysis (“neighborhood effects”), and heightened attention to the operationalization and measurement of key variables.
We argue that these findings supportBrandt’s pessimistic conclusions regarding the likelihood ofconvergence in moral judgment.The Nisbett group’s research can be seen as applying the toolsof cognitive social psychology to the “culture of honor”,a phenomenon that anthropologists have documented in a variety ofgroups around the world.