Ethics of Fieldwork

What Is Ethics?

Most of this website is about ethics. What's that? Generally speaking, ethics deals with value in human action—right and wrong, good and bad. Rejection of ethnocentrism, celebration of diversity and increasing wariness about the role of religion in public life have made some people uncomfortable asserting moral standards. However, there are several values that inform our sense of right and wrong even as we embrace the idea that there are many acceptable ways to live life.

The discussion on these pages reflects some of the values commonly accepted in the academic community and in the wider community. The content of this section is drawn from academic literature, from discussions with professors and students, and from discussions with individuals who are involved in various ways with community agencies.

Please use the links in the menu to the right to read about ethical issues regarding: Power and Coercion, Insiders & Outsiders, Relationships, Professionalism, and Risk. Many of the issues discussed here are raised in a different way in the discussion of Principles of Responsible Research.