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Ethics in research: An overview of universal ethics and the perpetuation of inequality in academia




Abstract (summary)

Ethics govern how research is conducted by Western institutions, though there are limitations in how effective codes of conduct can be in ensuring that research practice is truly ethical in all situations. Though practices have improved, there are several considerations that must still be met to ensure that research is both beneficial and respectful to all involved. The historical lack of repercussions that have accompanied Western research practice has functioned to further disadvantage Indigenous People, People of Color, and women. This has allowed for sexism, harassment, racism, and discrimination to continue. Existing ethical protocols are limited based on the inherent subjectivity in how ethics are perceived, where supplementary protocols should be created on a case by case basis that actively include and empower voices from local community members and researchers. Additionally, recognition of the past and present inequalities faced by marginalized groups is necessary to rectify the issues that these people face while they establish themselves in academic disciplines. This research project addresses the problems associated with “universal” ethical protocols, the disconnect that exists in the construction and ideological view of ethics between disciplines, and the ways that Western research practice has been shaped, including how the hierarchy present in academic institutions continues to marginalize and disadvantage certain groups of people, with particular emphasis on the perpetuation of racism and sexism.

Publication Information



Presented virtually at Student Research Day (April 26, 2021, MacEwan University, Edmonton), and the 48th Annual Western Anthropology & Sociology Undergraduate Research Conference (May 22, 2021, Santa Clara University, USA).

Item Type

Student Presentation




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