A History of the ASA Code of Ethics (2022)

a. The Presence of a Code in ASA

The ASA adopted its first Code of Ethics in 1970. During the 1960's, a series of research activities across the social and behavioral sciences considered unethical prompted the ASA to develop a Code. While there had been ongoing debate about the need for a Code that dated back to at least the early 1950's (see references throughout this volume), in 1968 ASA Council assigned the responsibility for producing a Code to the Committee on Professional Ethics. It was approved three years later.

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The first major revision of the Code (at least as can be determined by a review of the ASA Council minutes) was done in 1984. At that time, Council assigned COPE the responsibility of reviewing the Code every five years. In 1989, the Code was updated, mostly to include more articles related to sociological practice. In 1991, a few amendments primarily related to teaching responsibilities were added to the Code.


b. The Revision Process for the 1997 Code

The new Code resulted from two years of intensive work by the Committee on Professional Ethics. When the Committee on Professional Ethics started the review process in 1994, we determined that the Code needed more than a few revisions. The existing Code was difficult to read, did not pertain to many of the current positions that sociologists occupy, and was not easily enforced. Other factors that led to the more thorough review were changes in the requirements of federal agencies and other granting agencies regarding research ethics and societal expectations about professional behaviors. Many professional organizations had recently revised or were currently revising their codes of ethics.

This heightened concern with ethics was the context within which COPE began its examination of the ASA's current Code. At the time, COPE had no major or continuing ethical cases to consider. This paucity of issues gave the Committee time to consider in depth the impact of changes on sociologists in their daily activities and responsibilities. The Committee wanted the revision to reflect the diversity of roles and work activities of today's sociologists. We have been very deliberative in our review and our recommendations for a new Code. The ASA Council supported our desire to undertake a comprehensive review of the Code. The intersection of these forces led to the two-year process that resulted in the proposed new Code.

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The Committee has met regularly for two years (1994 to 1996). The Code revision began in December 1994, when the Committee met for three days of intensive work on the outline and specifications for the new Code. The Committee met four additional times for three-day sessions, plus a four-hour meeting at the ASA annual meeting. During May, we met again for three days. Through-out this period, subcommittees met occasionally, and the co-chairs traveled to the ASA office for two-day meetings. Mike Trister, the ASA attorney, joined us for at least a half-day in all meetings. In addition, email, faxes, and FedEx's have moved drafts among members.

We undertook substantial research during the process. Prior to the first meeting, Felice Levine, the Executive Officer and Liaison to the Committee, sent the Committee materials about four inches thick related to ethics code development. We looked at the documented history of the ASA Code, reviewed numerous articles on various ethical issues (e.g., the Scarce and Picou cases), and examined the ethics codes of related professional organizations (e.g., the APA, AHA, APSA, and AAA).

During the first meeting in December 1994, we sketched an outline for the proposed Code based on our discussions about the issues that might be included. Three subcommittees then sketched the issues in more detail and produced a series of reports in spring 1995.

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In May 1995, we met with the AAA committee that is developing a new code for anthropologists. During the meeting, an ethicist from Dartmouth, discussed the philosophical bases of ethics codes. At other times during spring and summer 1995, we met with representatives of the APA and the AAAS. Mark Frankel from the AAAS acted as a consultant and regularly reviewed code drafts.

In December 1995, we produced most of what is contained in the Code. In May 1996, the co-chairs met at the ASA office with Executive Office staff, Mark Frankel, and Mike Trister to work on some unresolved issues. At the end of May, the Committee met to finalize the version that is now available. During this period, COPE also conducted a number of outreach activities. We held Workshops at the ASA annual meetings (in 1995 and 1996) at which members were invited to review progress on the Code and provide input into its development. In the past two years, there were a number of articles in Footnotes related to the Code development, including an Open Door article that focused specifically on it and other Open Door articles on related issues, such as the Grassley Amendment. The Code was on the agenda for the ASA Business Meeting and for Council in 1996. During the 1996 annual meetings, COPE members attended meetings of aligned organizations, sections, and committees to discuss the Code. To further encourage discussion of the proposed Code, a listserv was set up at Indiana University. In the fall of 1996, the Committee continued to gather comments and suggestions from ASA members. In mid-October, COPE met to finalize the revision presented to the ASA Council for its approval during its January 1997 meeting. With Council approval, the proposed Code was distributed with the 1997 election ballot for approval by all members of the ASA.

While we were developing the Code, two other activities occupied substantial meeting time - a) discussions of a casebook that would accompany the new Code, and b) issues related to enforcement of the Code. The entire process, we believe, has allowed for a long and thoughtful analysis that produced a draft Code that meets the needs of sociologists for ethical guidelines.

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The Committee accomplished a substantial amount of work for a volunteer activity. Meetings were faithfully attended. Only two members missed one meeting each. To maintain continuity, Council froze the Committee's membership in 1994. Some members have been on the Committee for as long as six years. The meetings were very long and intense. Ten-hour meeting days were the norm. There were some spirited and intense discussions. While we didn't always agree on approaches or priorities, goodwill and a willingness to consider all points of view prevailed. All members agree that working on the Code was a rewarding intellectual activity and, reflecting on our work, we believe we considered most issues, discarded those we didn't think should be included, and focused on those we included.


Committee Membership

The Committee membership included a range of sociologists who occupy a variety of roles and positions. Besides sociologists actively engaged in teaching and research in academic departments, there were sociologists employed in academic settings but not in sociology departments. One member is president of a research company and vice-provost of her university. Two members were the past and incoming presidents of the Society for Applied Sociology. There was also a former ASA journal editor, two department chairs, and a sociologist directing a major research project that studies a vulnerable population. Yet another member is employed by a social science research company. There were quantitative and qualitative researchers. While not officially members of COPE, two ASA Executive Office staff participated in the meetings and took responsibility for organizing the meetings. Also, two ASA Council liaisons attended the meetings and participated fully. We believe that the diversity of the Committee allowed its members to introduce the range of topics that might be included in an ethics code.

Continuing Dialogue

The ASA has set up a homepage which includes updates on issues related to ethics as they occur: http://www.asanet.org/

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References

  1. Schuler, E.A. 1969. "Toward a code of ethics for sociologists: a historical note." Amer. Sociologist 3 (Nov.):316-18.
  2. 1964. "Against the Code of Ethics (for the ASA)" Amer. Sociological Rev. 29:409-10.

FAQs

What is the purpose of the ASA Code of Ethics? ›

The Code is intended to provide both the general principles and the rules to cover professional situations encountered by sociologists. It has as its primary goal the welfare and protection of the individuals and groups with whom sociologists work.

What are the 5 principles of ethics according to the ASA code of ethics? ›

The five principles of ASA are: (1) professional competence, (2) integrity, (3) professional and scientific responsibility, (4) respect for people's rights, dignity, and diversity, and (5) social responsibility.

How many ethical principles are included in the ASA Code of Ethics? ›

General Principles of the ASA Code of Ethics. In addition to the preamble, there are six general principles of the code. The Preamble of the ASA Code of Ethics lays the foundation for ethical behavior in sociological practice.

What is the ASA code of conduct? ›

ASA Code of Ethics

Respect the rights, dignity and worth of every person, be they adult or child, treating everyone equally within the context of the sport. Respect the spirit of the sport adhering to the rules and laws in and out of the pool, incorporating the concept of friendship and respect for others.

What are the 5 ethical considerations? ›

These principles include voluntary participation, informed consent, anonymity, confidentiality, potential for harm, and results communication.

Why is ethical consideration important in social research? ›

There are several reasons why it is important to adhere to ethical norms in research. First, norms promote the aims of research, such as knowledge, truth, and avoidance of error. For example, prohibitions against fabricating, falsifying, or misrepresenting research data promote the truth and minimize error.

Why is ethical important? ›

Ethics is what guides us to tell the truth, keep our promises, or help someone in need. There is a framework of ethics underlying our lives on a daily basis, helping us make decisions that create positive impacts and steering us away from unjust outcomes.

What are the 4 ethical Considerations in sociological research? ›

Ethical research should gain informed consent, ensure confidentiality, be legal and ensure that respondents and those related to them are not subjected to harm.

Which two principles are considered as the universal codes of conduct? ›

1. Shall not unreasonably restrain the student from independent action in the pursuit of learning. 2. Shall not unreasonably deny the student's access to varying points of view.

Which of the following principles is included in the ASA code of ethics quizlet? ›

Which of following principles is included in the American Sociological Association's (ASA) code of ethics? Viewing people's behavior from the perspective of their own culture is known as cultural relativism.

What is the purpose of the American Sociological Association? ›

ASA's mission is to serve sociologists in their work, advance sociology as a science and profession, and promote the contributions and use of sociology to society.

What are the ethical standards that a social scientist must adhere to? ›

The essential ethical considerations in social research ethics remains professional competence, integrity, processional and scientific responsibility, respect for research participants' rights, dignity and diversity, and social responsibility of social researchers / scientists.

What are ethical constraints? ›

Ethical Constraints:

These constraints mean that you are working within accepted norms of society and you have to behave in a certain way to avoid offending anyone.

Are there any ethical responsibilities that we face when working with statistics? ›

Responsibilities to Research Subjects, Data Subjects, or Those Directly Affected by Statistical Practices. The ethical statistical practitioner does not misuse or condone the misuse of data. They protect and respect the rights and interests of human and animal subjects.

What does cap code mean? ›

The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) is the rule book for non-broadcast advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing communications (marketing communications). This Code must be followed by all advertisers, agencies and media.

What are the 7 principles of ethics? ›

The principles are beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, justice; truth-telling and promise-keeping.

What are the ethical principles? ›

The 4 main ethical principles, that is beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice, are defined and explained.

What are examples of ethical implications? ›

Ethical Implications can include, but are not limited to: Risk of distress, loss, adverse impact, injury or psychological or other harm to any individual (participant/researcher/bystander) or participant group. Benefit to the individual (eg. Financial, reputational)

What is ethics in your own words? ›

First, ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues.

Who is responsible for ethical behavior in research? ›

Within a framework of good governance and appropriate training, responsibility for the conduct of ethical research must ultimately lie with the researchers themselves.

What are some of the ethical codes of research answer? ›

The following is a general summary of some ethical principles:
  • Honesty: Honestly report data, results, methods and procedures, and publication status. ...
  • Objectivity: ...
  • Integrity: ...
  • Carefulness: ...
  • Openness: ...
  • Respect for Intellectual Property: ...
  • Confidentiality: ...
  • Responsible Publication:
30 Aug 2022

How Can ethics improve your life? ›

We use ethics in our daily lives to improve the quality of our relationships. High quality close relationships contribute to mental and physical well-being. They fulfill our psychological need for intimacy and belongingness. How we deal with others is based on what we value in relationships.

What is ethics in your own understanding essay? ›

Essay on Ethics – Ethics refers to the concepts of right and wrong conduct. Furthermore, ethics is basically a branch of philosophy dealing with the issue of morality. Moreover, ethics consist of the rules of behavior. It certainly defines how a person should behave in specific situations.

How do you apply ethics in your life? ›

I limit the principles to five so that you can best incorporate them into your daily lives.
  1. Make Things Better. ...
  2. Treat Others Fairly. ...
  3. Consider the Consequences of Your Actions. ...
  4. Respect the Rights of Others. ...
  5. Act with Integrity.
1 Nov 2016

What is the most important issue to consider when conducting social research? ›

One of the most important ethical guidelines in sociological and other human-subject research concerns privacy and confidentiality. When they do research, sociologists should protect the privacy and confidentiality of their subjects.

How do you address ethical issues in research? ›

Five principles for research ethics
  1. Discuss intellectual property frankly. ...
  2. Be conscious of multiple roles. ...
  3. Follow informed-consent rules. ...
  4. Respect confidentiality and privacy. ...
  5. Tap into ethics resources.

What are the 7 ethical issues in psychology? ›

Ethical Issues in Psychology
  • Informed Consent.
  • Debrief.
  • Protection of Participants.
  • Deception.
  • Confidentiality.
  • Withdrawal.

What are the most important elements of a code of conduct? ›

Key principles of Code of Conduct
  • Respect for laws and regulations. ...
  • Respect for people. ...
  • Respect for the environment. ...
  • Respect for competition law regulations. ...
  • Respect for rules on insider trading. ...
  • Prevention of conflicts of interest. ...
  • Protection of Air Liquide activities. ...
  • Transparency and integrity of information.

What are the main points of the code of conduct? ›

What a code of conduct should include. The most common sections to include in a code of conduct are: ethical principles - includes workplace behaviour and respect for all people. values - includes an honest, unbiased and unprejudiced work environment.

What is the main aspects of code of conduct? ›

A company's code of conduct is a policy that outlines principles and standards that all employees and third parties acting on behalf of the company must follow. The code of conduct reviews the organization's mission and values and ties these ideals to professional behavior standards.

What is the most important principle of ethical research quizlet? ›

Research should cause no harm to subjects.

What is the primary goal of the ASA's code of ethics quizlet? ›

What is the primary goal of the ASA's Code of Ethics? value neutrality.

Which of the following is the best definition of the term social hierarchy? ›

social hierarchy. Any relationship between individuals or groups that is unequal and provides one person or group with more status and power than another.

Who formed the ASA? ›

Founded in December 1905 as the American Sociological Society at Johns Hopkins University by a group of fifty people, the first president of the association would be Lester Frank Ward. Today, most of its members work in academia, while around 20 percent of them work in government, business, or non-profit organizations.

Can you use first person in ASA format? ›

Using the first person ("I" or "we") in your text can help you avoid the passive voice. Do not be modest.

How do you write an ASA format? ›

Manuscript Format
  1. All text (including footnotes, references, and endnote) must be doubled spaced.
  2. Text must be in 12-point Times New Roman (Times is also acceptable)
  3. Block quotes may be single-spaced.
  4. Margins must be at least 1.25 inches on all four sides.
12 Jan 2022

What is ethics and why is it important in research? ›

Research ethics govern the standards of conduct for scientific researchers. It is important to adhere to ethical principles in order to protect the dignity, rights and welfare of research participants.

What ethical issues should be avoided in research? ›

ETHICAL ISSUES IN RESEARCH
  • Study design and ethics approval. According to COPE, “good research should be well adjusted, well-planned, appropriately designed, and ethically approved. ...
  • Data analysis. ...
  • Authorship. ...
  • Conflicts of interest. ...
  • Redundant publication and plagiarism.
31 Aug 2006

What are the ethical issues to keep in mind while conducting a social research? ›

Seven basic ethical issues arise in social science research: informed consent, deception, privacy (including confidentiality and anonymity), physical or mental distress, problems in sponsored research, scientific misconduct or fraud, and scientific advocacy.

What is the purpose of the American Sociological Association? ›

ASA's mission is to serve sociologists in their work, advance sociology as a science and profession, and promote the contributions and use of sociology to society.

What is the primary goal of the ASA's code of ethics quizlet? ›

What is the primary goal of the ASA's Code of Ethics? value neutrality.

Which of the following principles is included in the ASA code of ethics quizlet? ›

Which of following principles is included in the American Sociological Association's (ASA) code of ethics? Viewing people's behavior from the perspective of their own culture is known as cultural relativism.

What are the ethical standards that a social scientist must adhere to? ›

The essential ethical considerations in social research ethics remains professional competence, integrity, processional and scientific responsibility, respect for research participants' rights, dignity and diversity, and social responsibility of social researchers / scientists.

Who formed the ASA? ›

Founded in December 1905 as the American Sociological Society at Johns Hopkins University by a group of fifty people, the first president of the association would be Lester Frank Ward. Today, most of its members work in academia, while around 20 percent of them work in government, business, or non-profit organizations.

Can you use first person in ASA format? ›

Using the first person ("I" or "we") in your text can help you avoid the passive voice. Do not be modest.

How do you write an ASA format? ›

Manuscript Format
  1. All text (including footnotes, references, and endnote) must be doubled spaced.
  2. Text must be in 12-point Times New Roman (Times is also acceptable)
  3. Block quotes may be single-spaced.
  4. Margins must be at least 1.25 inches on all four sides.
12 Jan 2022

What are the three golden rules that all ethical standards have regardless of the discipline of research methods used? ›

Three basic principles, among those generally accepted in our cultural tradition, are particularly relevant to the ethics of research involving human subjects: the principles of respect of persons, beneficence and justice.

Which of the following is one of the important rules of ethical conduct in social research? ›

All of the following are described the golden rules of ethical conduct in social research EXCEPT: Do no harm. Informed consent.

Which of the following is not one of the ethical guidelines that a researcher must follow when conducting research with human subjects? ›

The correct answer is d.

Confidentiality, privacy and integrity is important in practicing ethically in psychological studies. Potential harm should be avoided, or minimized to protect the participants, as well as debriefing the participants upon completion.

Which of the following is the best definition of the term social hierarchy? ›

social hierarchy. Any relationship between individuals or groups that is unequal and provides one person or group with more status and power than another.

What is the last ethical principle in conducting research quizlet? ›

What is the last ethical principle in conducting research? Confidentiality refers to: Anything learned is not shared.

Which of the following is the second step of the scientific method? ›

The second step in the scientific method is to form a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a possible explanation for a set of observations or an answer to a scientific question. A hypothesis must be testable and measurable.

What is ethics and why is it important in research? ›

Research ethics govern the standards of conduct for scientific researchers. It is important to adhere to ethical principles in order to protect the dignity, rights and welfare of research participants.

Why is ethical important? ›

Ethics is what guides us to tell the truth, keep our promises, or help someone in need. There is a framework of ethics underlying our lives on a daily basis, helping us make decisions that create positive impacts and steering us away from unjust outcomes.

What ethical issues should be avoided in research? ›

ETHICAL ISSUES IN RESEARCH
  • Study design and ethics approval. According to COPE, “good research should be well adjusted, well-planned, appropriately designed, and ethically approved. ...
  • Data analysis. ...
  • Authorship. ...
  • Conflicts of interest. ...
  • Redundant publication and plagiarism.
31 Aug 2006

Videos

1. Professional Society Codes of Ethics
(Hamada Zidan)
2. NC ASA Webinar: Bias, Equity, and Anti-racism in Data Science and Machine Learning
(North Carolina Chapter of the ASA)
3. Code of Ethics with Leigh Brown | RRC
(Residential Real Estate Council)
4. NCS Code of Ethics video
(The National Counselling Society)
5. Lecture 12 Ethics in Sociological Research 3
(Michael Andoscia)
6. Cultural Anthropology Chapter 01-History and Ethics
(David Leitner)

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