SO220 Ethical Iss. in Social Sci.

for U1J 2010

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SO 220 Ethical Iss. in Social Sci.


U1J 2010 IN


Wiggins, Cleon


Senior Adjunct Instructor/Sociology


M.A. Sociology
B.S. Criminal Justice Administration
A.S. Administration Management

Office Location

Independence Campus I-29 & 23rd Street, Indep., MO

Office Hours

5:30 - 9:50 on nights I teach

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

June 7th -  August 1st 2010

Class Days


Class Time

5:30 - 9:50 PM


An introductory social science class (i.e., SO141, PS101, CJ100, or SW205)

Credit Hours



ALL REQUIRED (the final six are tiny pocket guides at $4-6 each)

Israel & Hay  Research Ethics for Social Scientists, (2006). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.  ISBN-13:  9781412903905

Paul & Elder The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools, 2004, Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.  ISBN:  0944583105

Paul & Elder The Miniature Guide to Analytic Thinking, 2003, Dillion Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.  ISBN: 0944583199

Paul & Elder The Miniature Guide to Taking Charge of the Human Mind, 2002, The Miniature Guide to Taking Charge of the Human Mind, Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.  ISBN:  0944583148

Paul & Elder The Miniature Guide to Scientific Thinking, 2003, Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.  ISBN:  0944583180

Paul & Elder The Thinker's Guide to Ethical Reasoning, 2003, Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.  ISBN:  0944583172

Paul & Elder The Thinker's Guide to Critical & Creative Thinking, 2004, Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking, Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.  ISBN:  0944583261

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
Life in Society, 3rd Edition, James M. Henslin, Allyn and Bacon. 

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Course Description:
SO 220 Ethical Issues in Social Sciences: Considers the moral and ethical consequences of conducting social science research, disseminating the results, and implementing practices and policies based on those findings. Critically examines those questions and choices rising at each stage of the research process, and the results of those choices on relevant parties. 3:0:3 Prerequisite: An introductory social science course (i.e., SO 141, PS101).

Educational Philosophy:

The facilitator's educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on lectures, readings, quizzes, dialogues, examinations, internet, videos, web-sites and writings.  The facilitator will engage each learner in what is referred to as a disputatious learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the historical development of ethical standards in social research.
  2. Explain relevant national and international standards for ethical social research.
  3. Articulate the major ethical concerns for each stage of the research cycle.
  4. Evaluate the major ethical questions in implementing policies based on social research.
  5. Demonstrate how to ethically choose and build upon others
Class Assessment:

Essay: (max. 2500 words, plus tables and figures) Students will be provided with two extended case studies and will write an essay comparing and critically evaluating their ethical challenges and the strategies used to minimize or guard against harmful results.  The essay must address the following issues:

1.    What ethical principles are at issue in each case?  Provide and justify specific examples.
2.    What strategies were used to insure the standards of ethical research?
3.    Were those strategies successful?  How and why?
4.    What alternate strategies might also have been used to achieve the same or better results?
5.    Which case study represents a better implementation of research ethics?  How and why?

Your essay will consist of a careful, point-by-point contrast of the two cases.  It should link the cases to commonly held standards of research ethics and discuss the extent to which those were followed.  You should discuss the ethical, practical, and political consequences of these cases for the researchers, participants, and the social groups represented therein.  And you should connect these cases to other examples of social research and implementation we have discussed.

If you use any external sources, those sources that contributed to your work must be properly cited. If you fail to properly cite those sources then you are guilty of plagiarism. This will not be tolerated and may result in immediate and serious academic penalties. If you have any questions as to when and how to use citations and references in you essays, please contact your instructor. Your final essay will also be formatted according to the relevant portions of the American Psychological Association Style Guide.  

In addition to the essay, assessment will also include homework assignments, a midterm exam, a final exam, and a short writing assignment on the sociological theorists who made a significant contribution to the study of social ethics, and weekly presentation of current/relevant news stories.


Major essay                                                    300 points (21.9)

Mid-term exam                                               200 points (14.5)

Comprehensive final exam                              200 points (14.5)

Complete Investigator Education Program       150 points (11)

Homework assignments                                  120 points (8.7)

Weekly quiz                                                   120 points (8.7)

Theorist review                                              100 points (7.2)

Weekly presentations                                      90 points (6.6)

Attendance & participation                              90 points (6.6)

Total points possible                                   1,370 points

90% of 1,370 points = "A" (1,233 points)

80% of 1,370 points = "B" (1,096 points)

70% of 1,370 points = "C" (959 points)

60% of 1,370 points = "D" (822 points)

59% or less of the 1,370 points possible = "F"

This grading scale will also used on all assignments.

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Any material turned in late will receive an automatic 15 point per day reduction before it is graded unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor.  Students should not e-mail late assignments to the instructor with the expectation that the assignment will not receive the 15 point per day reduction unless the instructor has given permission for the assignment to be e-mailed/turned-in late.  Furthermore, students should not e-mail material to the instructor with the expectation that it will not receive the penalty if the instructor is unaware that assignments are being e-mailed. Do not e-mail material to the instructor unless specific permission has been granted. If  a student does e-mail an assignment without the approval of the instructor, the student  may only assume that the assignment was not turned-in when it was due and will be assessed the 15 point per day reduction, even if it was e-mailed to the instructor.  Any student who gives their assignment to another student to turn in for them is still responsible for their assignment reaching the instructor when it is due.  If the assignment does not reach the instructor when it is due, it will be assessed a 15 point per day reduction. 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

All material must be type written.  The instructor will not accept diskettes in lieu of the hard copy.  It is acceptable to disagree with ideas, opinions, comments, and points of view expressed by others. However, it is never acceptable to attack anyone verbally or physically for their opinion, comment, ideas, beliefs, etc.  Only under extremely limited circumstances will electronic recording device, audio or video equipment be allowed to be on in the classroom (during class session or during breaks) without the instructor’s permission.  This includes telephones with audio and/or visual recording capabilities.  All pagers and cell phones must be turned off.  There can be no texting during class time.  Lectures cannot be recorded.  No audio nor video recording equipment may be on during class, to include all recording devices associated with cell phones.

Any student caught texting during class session, or using their cell phone during class session will be asked to leave the room and will be subject to removal from the class

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week #1 - Thur June 10th - Introductions, review of syllabus, and chapter one lecture will cover the topic Why Care About Ethics?  The lecture will also cover the miniature guide to Taking Charge of the Human Mind.  Handout and homework assignment (my biases).   Handout. Video. 
*Discussion of  Investigator Education Program
Week #2 - Thur June 17th -  Review of news stories, review of handouts, and the lecture will cover chapter two - Ethical Approaches.  Lecture will also cover the miniature guide - Critical Thinking. Video. Homework assignment (taking side). Quiz
* Discussion of the Investigator Education Program

Week #3 - Thur June 24th -  Review of news stories; review of handouts and the lecture will cover chapter three - Codes and Principles.  Lecture will also cover the miniature guide entitled Scientific Thinking; video.   Homework assignments (literature critique). Quiz. Handout.

Week #4 - Thur July 1st - Review of news stories; review of handouts, video, lecture will cover chapter four - Regulating Ethics and the guide entitled Analytic Thinking. Video.   Midterm exam.  Homework assignment (literature search).  Quiz.  Handout.

Week #5 - Thur July 8th - Review of midterm exam, review of news stories, review of handouts, video, lecture will cover chapters five - Informed Concent and six - Confidentiality and the guide entitled Ethical Reasoning. Homework assignment (ethical code analysis).   Quiz. Handout

Week #6 - Thur July 15th - Review of news stories, review of handouts, videos, lecture will cover chapter seven - Avoiding Harm and Doing Good.  Handout, homework assignment (ethical issues and vignettes). Quiz. Handout

Week #7 - Thur July 22nd - Review of news stories, review of handouts, videos, lecture will cover chapter eight - Relationships, Integrity and Ethics of Care, and chapter nine - Between Ethical Conduct and Regulatory Compliance.   The lecture will also include the guide entitled - Critical and Creative Thinking.  Term papers due. Homework (ethical application). Quiz.  Handout. 

*The Investigator Education Program must be completed by the end of the 7th week.

Week #8 - Thur July 29th - Final exam.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:2/28/2010 12:02:03 PM