Ethical Controversies in Engaged Research

Nicole Janich, David E. Duffee

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This chapter examines the main characteristics of engaged research (ER) that can make such research ethically problematic. Engaged research is that form of research in which the persons or groups being studied are also participants in the research. The problematic characteristics are the participation continuum or degree of engagement, complexity of relationships in ER projects, and the developmental nature of ER. These characteristics have generated several ethical controversies: (1) ethics of process or of outcomes, (2) ambiguity of “community,” (3) capacity of participants, (4) variety and unpredictability of risk, and (5) ethical review and regulation. We use examples from two ER projects, one in probation and one in a residential program for youth, to highlight the problems. We conclude with some steps that might help resolve the ethical disagreements among ER researchers.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
    PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
    Number of pages17
    StatePublished - 2019

    Publication series

    NameHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
    ISSN (Print)1389-6903
    ISSN (Electronic)2542-839X


    • Developmental
    • Engaged research
    • Ethics
    • Methodology
    • Research
    • Research methods

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology (miscellaneous)
    • Social Psychology
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Sociology and Political Science


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