Marketing to Children and Ethical Research

Marketing to Children and Ethical Research

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0993-6.ch001
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Abstract

Ethics can be defined as a set of moral principles and rules of conduct: ethics in research, as one author has put it, relates to ‘the application of a system of moral principles to prevent harming or wronging others, to promote the good, to be respectful, and to be fair' (Sieber, 1993, p.14). When most people think of ethics (or morals), they think of rules for distinguishing between the right and wrong. This is the most common way of defining “ethics”: norms for conduct that distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Ethics can be defined as a set of moral principles and rules of conduct. When most people think of ethics (or morals), they think of rules for distinguishing between the right and wrong. This is the most common way of defining “ethics”: norms for conduct that distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
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Introduction

Ethics can be defined as a set of moral principles and rules of conduct: ethics in research, as one author has put it, relates to ‘the application of a system of moral principles to prevent harming or wronging others, to promote the good, to be respectful, and to be fair’ (Sieber, 1993, p.14). 1

When most people think of ethics (or morals), they think of rules for distinguishing between the right and wrong. This is the most common way of defining “ethics”: norms for conduct that distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

Although most people acquire their sense of right and wrong during childhood, moral development occurs throughout life and human beings pass through different stages of growth as they mature. If morality were nothing more than common sense, then why are there so many ethical disputes and issues in our society?

One plausible explanation of these disagreements is that all people recognise some common ethical norms but different individuals interpret, apply, and balance these norms in different ways in light of their own world and life experiences.

Another way of defining ‘ethics’ focuses on the disciplines that study standards of conduct, such as, philosophy, theology, law, psychology, or sociology. One may also define ethics as a method, procedure, or perspective for deciding how to act and for analysing complex problems and issues.

Many different disciplines, institutions, and professions have norms for behaviour that suit their particular aims and goals. These norms also help members of the discipline to coordinate their actions or activities and to establish the public’s trust for the discipline. Ethical norms also serve the aims or goals of research and apply to people who conduct scientific research or other scholarly or creative activities. There is even a specialised discipline, research ethics, which studies these norms.

There are several reasons why it is important to adhere to ethical norms in research. First, norms promote the aims of the research, such as knowledge, truth, and avoidance or error. For example, prohibitions against fabricating, falsifying, or misrepresenting research data promote the truth and avoid error. Second, since research often involves a great deal of cooperation and coordination among many different people in different disciplines and institutions, ethical standards promote the values that are essential to collaborative work, such as trust, accountability, mutual respect, and fairness. Third, many of the ethical norms help to ensure that researchers can be held accountable to the public. Fourth, ethical norms in research also help to build public support for research. People more likely to fund research project if they can trust the quality and integrity of research. Finally, many of the norms of research promote a variety of other important moral and social values, such as social responsibility and human rights. Lapses in research can significantly harm human and the public.

Ethics in society and business has many meanings – conducting one’s self in a way that respects and recognises others and their contributors, but also the notion of compliance with our societally-sanctioned behavioural process (including laws and regulations).

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Ethical Drawbacks To The Use Of Deception

The crux of the typical moral argument against deception in human subject research is the contention that regardless of the anticipated research ends, it is always wrong to mislead research participants because deception represents a clear violation of the subject’s basic right to informed consent and it shatters the trust inherent to the implicit contractual relationship between the researcher and participant.

This argument attacks at the very heart of the utilitarian justification for using deception in research contexts, which holds that beneficial scientific ends sometimes justify the use of means that would necessarily infringe upon individual participants’ rights or general welfare.

Ethics is a core consideration to most research. This is especially true for research that involves children where there will have to be a balance between the researcher’s aims and the protection of any participants.

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