Reflective Writing



August30, 2014.


Ethicsand their relevance in humanities

Ethicsare important aspects in human lives they act as a moral compass aswe engage in various activities and interact with others. Inphilosophical terms, ethics are systematic standards of assessingwhether individuals course of action is right or wrong. Ethicsenhances harmony and a shared understanding of the expected moralpropositions of humanity on the basis of good, evil, crime, justicevirtuousness or vice. In humanities, ethics are essential as theirform the basis of the subject content and moral predispositionexpected on social science professionals(Helsinki, 2009).In this way, ethics in humanities expects social scienceprofessionals have meta-ethics, normative ethics and have anunderstanding of applied ethics when performing their obligations.

Inparticular, humanities deal with social research as a way ofunderstanding various aspects of the society on the basis of socialrelations, economic activities, political participation, religion andadministration. As such, a social scientist needs to embrace ethicalvalues and norms of research work as guiding principles when dealingwith institutions, individuals and colleagues, as well as the generalcommunity (Kidder,2003).In humanities, ethics helps to guide the scholar on teamwork,managing conflicts and maintaining fidelity in gathered data. Inaddition, scholars in humanities needs to be truthful, have empathy,share decision making and be responsible (Helsinki,2009).In our social policy course, we were assigned a research project onslum poverty, and specific area of research was assigned to eachperson in our team.

Iwas previously involved in a research project in which we weresupposed to apply research ethics in all stages of data collection.Ethical considerations made were research design, approaches ofcollecting data, methods of analysis and reporting. In this respect,before the actual field work we discussed on guidelines that we wouldapply in the field in order to accomplish the research project in aneffective way (NESH,2006).Initially, the tasks assigned did not seem difficult for each of ourteam members as each person would cover a specific question of theresearch (NESH,2006).However, the fieldwork proved hard without teamwork. Major challengesinvolved meeting new individuals, trekking in risky lanes andsometimes losing our directions. Our team agreed to work as a groupand made a plan for sampling the required respondents. Cooperationbetween team members had been affected by perception that ourperformance would be affected if we worked as a group.

Ourteam agreed to collect objective data, maintain the confidentialityof the respondents, share and make decisions as a group. In thefield, we avoided conflicting opinions, verified data from othersources and exhibited great respect to the respondents. In theresearch project, no respondent was forced to participate, andconsent was sought before interviewing the respondents. Furthermore,we made it necessary to inform the subjects on the purpose ofresearch and how the collected information would be keptconfidential. In the field, we met unresponsive respondents whileothers were hostile and wary about our activities this had an impacton our anxiety and strength but used our teamwork strength to carryon(NESH, 2006).

Accordingto the theory of social interdependence, group work is effective ifaimed at promoting positive interdependence. In addition, severalresearchers demonstrate the effectiveness of cooperation to improvework performance. In this respect, we formed a team work in whichresearch tasks were performed in the team. In this way, we achieved agood outcome and completed the tasks as assigned. For me, the mostimportant experience was learning and applying research ethics in thecollecting data (NESH,2006).At first, I thought we could not manage to conduct interviews andcollect objective information based on the environment. Although,previously we had made plans and learned more about social researchwe had not prior experience in the field. At the time, I noticed thatchange in environment, new people and the fear of been attacked bythe residents weakened our teamwork. Subsequently, we avoided certainrespondents and areas, and this could have affected the distributionof data collected (Vendemiati,2004).

However,having learned about research ethics in humanities, we applied allaspects we could manage in order to complete the exercise well. Assuch, the research project helped me apply basic human ethics such astruthfulness, confidentiality, objectivity and developing meaningfulsocial ties with the community and my teamwork colleagues. Inaddition, the field project gave us firsthand experience on varioussocial issues affecting the poor communities in the slums. Theexercises gave me important skills of carrying out social researchanalyzing, planning and dealing with different people(Kidder, 2003).Having experienced and applied ethics in this exercise, I now feelmore conversant with ethical issues in humanities as a discipline andethics as important aspect in Social Science career. The researchwork exposed us to field work experience as experienced by careersocial workers, social administrators, social researchers andcommunity health workers among others (Kidder,2003).

Inthe same line, the research project was instrumental in teaching usthe essence of teamwork and cooperation this aspect is useful inlearning activities. After, the research, I learned great ethics suchas respecting private interests, regard for public institutions,respect for vulnerable groups and respecting divergent opinions fromothers (Vendemiati,2004).In respect to my academic course, the research task was important inlearning important aspects such as the value of honesty I should notfabricate, plagiarize and falsify all types of academic research.Furthermore, the tasks were important as I learned how to beresponsible for my academic success by following the setInstitutional standards, procedures and instructions with integrity.This implies been observant, make reference and use the set standardsas models of learning and career progress later in life. I can assertthat I have significantly developed my understanding of ethicalvalues in humanities in regard to academics, relation withcolleagues, supervisors and observing institution procedures areethics(Vendemiati, 2004).

Inaddition, I have improved my understanding and application of socialethics when working with members of the public. However, I have notsufficiently developed my ability to work with different individualsdue to my shy and quiet character. This means that I need to developmy skills in social interaction and interdependence. Knowledge ofethics in humanities will be useful to me in social policy career. Inthis way, good ethical practices learned will be essential to me as Ideal with divergent opinions from different people. Although I havenot yet finalized my studies, I need to work more on understandinghuman ethics in humanities. As the next step, I need to get aninternship with humanitarian agencies to improve my understanding andapplication of ethics in real life situations.

Importantethical values in humanity Courses

Plagiarismand Good reference practice

Itis important to avoid duplicating or using other researchers’ ideasor works. In instances where such ideas are used, good referencingand quotation should be done to limit plagiarism. This involvesgiving accurate reference on the materials used in academicassessment (Helsinki,2009).In the same way, researchers ensure the integrity of their source ofdata, academic assessment should be well referenced and comply withexisting academic rules of writing.

Respectof colleagues and the supervisors

Aspart of ethical standards in research work Scholars in the field ofhumanity, need to respect the contribution of others and desist fromnegative criticism. Individuals should make efforts to create anatmosphere that is conducive for learning and research. Objectivitystandards and constructive criticism should be promoted by all evenin instances where opinions differ(Helsinki, 2009).


Helsinki(2009). Ethical principles of research in Humanities, Social andBehavioral Sciences Proposals for ethical review. NationalAdvisory Board on Research Ethics

Helsinki.Retrieved from

Kidder,L. (2003). HowPeople Make Tough Choices: To resolving dilemmas of ethics we mustunderstand the problems exactly.New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

NESH(2006). Guidelinesfor research ethics in Social Sciences, law and the Humanities.NationalCommittee for Research Ethics in the social Sciences and theHumanities.Retrieved from

Vendemiati,A. (2004). AnOutline of General Ethics.Rome: Urbaniana University Press.