SAGE Journal Articles

Click on the following links. Please note these will open in a new window.

Article 13.1

Helgeland, I. M. (2005). "Catch 22" of research ethics: Ethical dilemmas in follow-up studies of marginal groups. Qualitative Inquiry11(4), 549-569.

In a follow-up study of adolescents with serious problems, the author experienced dilemmas involving satisfying standards of research and ethical guidelines. The guidelines aim to protect marginal and vulnerable groups based on a hypothesis about the best interests of the weak group. Research experience shows, however, that these regulations also prevent coming in contact with informants. During the project, informants were systematically asked their opinions about being contacted. Ethical guidelines for research are discussed in light of ethical theories and findings of the research. The conclusions are that research guidelines are shaped from “above” and that one consequence is a protectionist attitude not always serving needs of respondents. It is suggested that the establishment of ethical standards in research may be improved if done in dialogue with respondents.

Article 13.2

Lascher, E. L. (2004). September 11 victims, random events, and the ethics of compensation. American Behavioral Scientist, 48(3), 281-294.

The authors focus on a relatively unexplored aspect of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks—the extent to which it was ethically appropriate to compensate victims of that tragedy, especially in comparison to victims of other unfortunate events. After providing back ground on federal disaster and victim compensation policies, the authors offer a set of principles for determining when the government should provide direct reimbursement to victims for losses incurred, drawing on both deontological and utilitarian reasoning. The authors then apply these standards to the September 11 attacks and other unfortunate events such as the Oklahoma City bombing.

Article 13.3

Morgan, R. (2000). The utilitarian justification of torture: Denial, desert, and disinformation. Punishment & Society, 2(2), 181–196.

Torture is prohibited by customary international law. Yet the practice widely persists. Beneath the rhetoric of human rights talk the utilitarian justification of torture commands a good deal of support among police and security agencies and is detectable between the lines of the discourse of denial. Can torture be justified on utilitarian grounds? Close examination of Bentham's defense of torture, and the reasoning of the Landau Report in support of ‘moderate physical pressure’ in Israel, suggests that it cannot. The practice of torture will arguably best be countered by confronting the subterranean utilitarian justifications of torture on their own terms: in the long term it does not work but, rather, undermines the legitimacy of the state itself.