why do sociologists need to follow a code of ethics

The American Sociologists AssociationБs (ASA) Code of Ethics sets the standards for practice for sociologists. It provides guidance on how the sociologist carries out every day activities. It provides suggestions and rules for dealing with other professionals and members of the public. The ASA maintains the Code may be interpreted differently depending on the characteristics of a specific situation. The introduction to the ASAБs Code of Ethics provides general information. Sociologists who desire membership in the ASA must agree to abide by the rules and guidelines of the Code of Ethics. Violations of the Code can result in sanctions or the termination of membership. The Code applies to actions that are Бpart of or affects (the members) work-related functions, or if the activity is sociological in nature. Б Personal actives that do not fit into these categories are not governed by the Code. The ideas and concepts contained in the preamble are recommendations rather than hard rules. They are designed to help the sociologist achieve the Бhighest ideals of sociologyБ The preamble introduces the code as a tool to provide guidance in professional and work related situations. It establishes the primary goal of the code as concern for the welfare and protection of individuals and groups with whom the sociologist has contact. The preamble encourages the obtainment of the highest possible standards in practice, teaching, research and service. The Preamble encourages sociologists to make a lifelong commitment to the profession, co-workers, fellow students, colleagues and supervisors. Like the Preamble, the General Principles contained in the Code of Ethics are guidelines, not rules. The General Principles cover the following topics: professional competence; integrity; professional and scientific responsibility; respect for peopleБs rights, dignity and diversity and social responsibility.


Principle A directs the sociologist to recognize personal expertise limitations and to only take assignments for which he is qualified. Ongoing education and consultation with other sociologists is encouraged. Principle B pertains to personal attributes such as honesty, fairness and respect for others. Principle C recommends that sociologists abide by the highest standards and take responsibility for their work. Principle D holds that sociologists should Бrespect the rights, dignity and worth of all people. Б Principle E states sociologists should be aware of their Бprofessional and scientific responsibility to communitiesБ. The Ethical Standards of the ASAБs Code contains rules for conduct. It contains direction related to many of the same topics found in the General Principles. Additional topics covered include the misuse or misrepresentation of expertise; rules regarding delegation and supervision; employment decisions; conflicts of interest; confidentiality; decision-making; public communications; informed consent; research practices and publication procedures. The Ethical Standards in the Code of Ethics are Бnot exhaustive. Б They are written broadly so they apply to sociologists performing in various roles. The application of any rule may vary depending on the context of a particular situation.
The American Sociological Association, or ASA, is the major national association for sociologists in the academia and in the field. Founded in 1905, it serves academics, professors, researchers, practicing sociologists, students and members in NGOs, government bodies, and other institutions.


Meant to promote the discipline and support exchange of ideas and research, it holds over 14,000 members and also serves in implementing programs for scholars that will further the discipline. Sociology is a discipline of the social sciences, and is the scientific study of various aspects of human society. This includes social interaction, socio-cultural behavior, social class structure, and more. It can range from individual behavior to macro-level investigation of institutional or community behavior and function. Sociologists may work in a university of research institute, or in organizations, such as NGOs, analyzing community structure and behavior for better program implementation, for example. Sociological practice and research is based on close contact, usually through observation or extensive interviews with the subjects of the studies, guidelines have been set into place by the American Sociological Association. These guidelines set an ethical standard of practice and guarantee the publication of truthful, unbiased findings. The ASA's code of ethics establish a standard guideline for sociological practice and conduct. It includes an Introduction, five principles, and the specific Ethical Standards. The code also presents guidelines for dealing with unethical conduct in sociological practice. Membership to the ASA implies adherence to this code, and sociologists are often required to sign this code of ethics within their respective institutions. Broadly, the five principles of the code include guidelines for professional competence, outlining how sociological practitioners must strive to the highest level of work, remain humble in their expertise and acknowledge their limitations, only embarking in research they are qualified for, through training and education.


Sociologists must strive to the highest level of integrity, and must remain honest in their research and in their professional activities. They must not engage in activities that are harmful for others, for their research, or for the discipline. Professional and scientific responsibilities include adherence to the high scientific standards of the discipline, and respecting the work of other sociologists despite potential theoretical disagreements. Sociologists must respect the rights and dignity of all cultures, peoples or societies. They must be aware of their scientific responsibility to the communities and societies in which they live and work, and publicly disseminate their unbiased findings. Conclusion: why ethics? These codes are set into place, not only in the United States, but worldwide. They are disseminated and standardized internationally so as to guarantee that the discipline on the whole remains as scientifically honest as possible, but most of all, they exist so as to avoid harm or abuse of the research subject by the scholar. "Harm" or "abuse" of a subject through research can include negative publications of a particular social group due to a researcher's personal bias. It can also include invasive research practices in a very private social or cultural group, where a scholar or researcher may not respect the social practices of beliefs of a community. These codes, which must be signed and understood, ensure an ethical research practice by sociologists worldwide.

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