Sample Criminal Justice Essay Paper on Ethics in research

Ethics in research

Criminal justice research should be ethical and professional so as not to infringe on the rights of the subjects of the research. We should be concerned about whether criminal justice research is ethical for the reason that agencies of the system are the pillars of professionalism and ethics in our society. This agencies base on laws to enforce ethical behavior in people that are subject to the law thus research carried out in criminal justice should be ethical. Criminal justice research should be ethical because its agencies are the ones who enforce ethical and thus they should act as an example in carrying out ethical researches. Researches that are not ethical in other fields are brought to the criminal justice agencies for the delivery of justices for those affected by these unethical researches.

The history of ethics in research dates back to the Nazi experiments that were carried out in laboratories. Horror stories of past research in the Nazi experiments are a clear indication that ethics in research has been developed for a long time. The Nazi experiments used human beings as specimens to carry out research which is against ethical research in the contemporary society. Several procedures have been developed to ensure that research that are carried out  is ethical, for instance, institutional concerns and formal requirements for informed consent for human subjects is required today unlike long ago in the Nuremberg trials of Nazi experiments with human subjects which were horrific. The research that is conducted today is ethical because it requires the consent of human subjects unlike long ago when human were used by force to carry out experiments. “Research ethics has developed without serious attention to the views of people who know what it is like to be a research subject” (Dresser, 2015). Research is the contemporary society is also supposed to adhere to a certain code of ethics that has been put in place. I agree that the procedures that have to be followed today to ensure an ethical research are sufficient because they spell out the requirements and guidelines that are needed thus ensuring that researches stick to ethical standards. The laws, regulations and ethical guidelines governing human subject research have been created by professionals.

Humphrey’s research was ethical because it did adhere to all the requirements and ethical standards that are needed for a research. Humphreys’ study adhered to all the three moral pillars underlying social research and did not violate any premise of either beneficence or the sociological interest in social justice First Humphrey got the consent of his subjects before carrying out his research. Second he did not disclose the identity of his subjects as it is required and took the names of those who participated in the research with him to the grave.  Humphrey hid identities of his subjects in a locked box, at a secret location; hundred miles away from where his research was conducted and destroyed the list later on.  “Open data policies make a substantial impact on the efficiency and potential innovation of human subject’s research” (Cummings, Zagrodney, and Day, 2015)

The benefits that were obtained from the research did not outweigh the associated ethical costs because his study made significant positive contributions to the population he studied. His research exploded the myth that the populations of men engaging in these sexual encounters were criminals and also established that this casual sexual behavior was limited to consenting adults that transpired in a manner that made it highly unlikely that youths or disinterested parties would be approached or harassed (Lenza, 2004). The benefits outweigh the ethical cost because the ethical costs of the study are negligible because Humphrey tried so much to adhere to ethical standards.


Cummings, J. A., Zagrodney, J. M., & Day, T. E. (2015). Impact of Open Data Policies on Consent to Participate in Human Subjects Research: Discrepancies between Participant Action and Reported Concerns. Plos ONE, 10(5), 1-11

Dresser, R. (2015, May). Research subjects’ voices: the missing element in research ethics. Anaesthesia & Intensive Care. pp. 297-299.

Dresser, R. (2015). What Subjects Teach: The Everyday Ethics Of Human Research. Wake Forest Law Review, 50(2), 301-341.

Lenza, M (2004) Controversies Surrounding Laud Humphreys’ Tearoom Trade: An Unsettling Example of Politics and Power in Methodological Critiques, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 24(3), 20-30.