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NCJ Number: 99262 Find in a Library
Title: Ethics of Experimentation in Law Enforcement (From Police Leadership in America, P 418-429, 1985, William A Geller, ed. - See NCJ-98325)
Author(s): J E Shapard
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: Praeger Publishers
Westport, CT 06881
Sale Source: Praeger Publishers
88 Post Road West
Westport, CT 06881
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper outlines the conclusions of the Federal Judicial Center's Advisory Committee on Experimentation in the Law regarding the ethics of conducting justice system experiments.
Abstract: The ethical principles outlined apply to 'program' experiments, which involve alteration in the operation of the justice system, distinguished from simulation or laboratory experiments. The overriding theme of the committee's ethical guidance is that decisions about program experiments are linked to justice system administrators' decisions about how their institutions ought to function; therefore ethical considerations in experimentation must derive from the same ethics that guides all administrative decisions about institutional operations. Implicit in this central theme is the recommendation that when an experiment is needed to improve the justice system operation, not to experiment is wrong, so long as the effort is designed to provide the required information. Concomitantly, a program experiment should be undertaken only if it is needed. The committee justifies the use of random assignment research methodology on the grounds that reliable information may not be obtained by any other means. Further, informed consent to be involved in the experiment is not an ethical consideration unless the subject has a general moral privilege to preclude the researcher from performing the proposed task. The principles outlined are applied to a hypothetical police experiment. Five notes are provided.
Index Term(s): Police research; Professional conduct and ethics; Research methods; Researcher subject relations
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=99262

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