Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The purpose of the current study is to identify core themes, values, and principles through which social scientists conceptualize and implement research ethics and integrity. Periods of rapid growth and interest in research ethics and integrity often coincide with significant scientific discoveries (e.g., mapping of the human genome) or scientific misconduct (e.g., Tuskegee studies). Even though research policies are being developed, they are done in a manner which does not maximize the opportunities to regulate ethics and integrity within social science research. The laws and programs aimed at mitigating acts of misconduct were originally intended for biomedical sciences, yet they are extended to the social sciences, which are rooted in different scientific philosophies, methodologies, and utility. I believe, from a methodological perspective, that ethical and integrity guidelines developed for biomedical sciences do not provide the optimal amount of guidance and protection for researchers and participants within the social sciences. The research question: How do social scientists conceptualize and implement research ethics and integrity? was investigated using phenomenological methodology analyzed through an emergent feminist lens. Seven (N=7) social science tenure-track faculty who conduct human subjects research participated. Data yielded 7 themes; discipline/academic culture, role of the researcher, data, IRB, resources, consequences, and research ethics/integrity. Results inform foundational research into the application of researcher ethics and integrity for social scientists and provide argumentative support for further inquiry.