Friday, January 23, 2009

NASW Code of Ethics




Our profession is governed by a Code of Ethics. The National Association of Social Workers provides us a set of rules, a code of ethics, that guides our professional practice. Please review the code of ethcis and create posts that explain how you think these guidelines apply to social work research.

53 comments:

  1. From Tomi...

    I believe the NASW code of ethics is very important concerning social work research. The first thing I thought of when I began to review the code of ethics was the video we had to watch for the last class on research studies. I believe as a social worker, we owe the clients to complete continuous research to render the best practice techniques at all times. On the contrary, I do believe that we must keep the dignity and worth of everyone in mind....including the individuals who participate in research studies. I know, in class, we discussed how some of the research studies that were done in the past would not even be approved to be conducted today for that very reason....dignity and worth of a person.

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  2. Response to Tomi
    By Denise Cleveland

    I agree with Tomi that we, as social workers, must remember the inherent dignity and worth of persons when conducting research. Participation is research studies must be voluntary and we have to remember that individuals come from diverse backgrounds and perspectives that may affect their participation and response to research. Further, the IRB has a strong view regarding the protection of human subjects when conducting research - informed consent, voluntary participation, adverse events, withdrawal from the study - so I believe that we are all on the same page when it comes to this ethical principle and research.

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  3. Original Post
    By Denise Cleveland

    According to the NASW Code of Ethics preamble (1996), "the primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well­being..." As Social Workers, we must remember this in terms of conducting ethical research studies. As Tomi mentioned, I agree that the foremost ethical principle involved is dignity and worth of the person; however, I also believ that as a practitioner and/or researcher, the core value of competence should also be regarded. If we form a circular model, we must conduct research in order to have expertise, expertise helps us to choose reliable and valid interventions, interventions lead to outcomes, which allows use to continue the development of our practice and research, leading to competence in the field.

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  4. Original Post by Kristi Maddox


    I believe the Code of Ethics and social work research go hand in hand. According to the Code of Ethics, “Social workers practice within their areas of competence and develop and enhance their professional expertise.” We are taught to further our knowledge through continuous education. Without the use of research the validity of written works could be faulty. Since we are also mandated through the Code to “respect the dignity and worth of the person” and to “behave in a trustworthy manner” the profession should strive to practice with methods that are the best proven to be effective in order to provide the best to the clients we serve. This is a part of our ethical responsibilities and commitment to clients.

    One other important aspect that the profession has historically struggled with was being recognized as “professionals”. Through research in the social work area this further serves to strengthen our profession by expanding upon the information that is available which also would comply with the Code’s value of “competence.”

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  5. Response to Tomi by Kristi Maddox

    Prior to guidelines being developed for research studies there were definitely some major violations of the Code of Ethics. I am glad there are guidelines for research now that must be followed for the sake of our clients and ourselves. The issues experienced by so many with the Tuskegee Syphilis Study is just one example of why there must be regulations for these type of things. People's lives were destroyed and health ruined.

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  6. Original Ethics Posting

    According to the NASW, the code of ethics “cannot guarantee ethical behavior”, but it is a guide to ensure clients are treated with respect and dignity. The ethical principles are important factors to abide by when conducting research so the clients and participants are treated fairly. Without these principles, research conductors could video tape participants without their consent, not keep information confidential, and consider their personal needs over the participants’. I believe the code of ethics could serve as an ethical guideline for social work research while ensuring respectable service.

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  7. Response posting to Tomi

    I agree with you that research should be continued to provide the best service to the clients, while keeping their needs and best interest in mind. The NASW code of ethics would have eliminated several studies that were conducted years ago. As time progresses, I am sure the code of ethics will have to be revised for future research.

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  8. Patricia Ford on Code of Ethics and Social Work Research:


    When conducting research in the field of social work, social workers should refrain from utilizing methods that may cause harm to clients. We may not realize the effect a particular assessment may have on a depressed client, a client with a history of abuse, or a client with PTSD, etc. As such, we should inform clients of the level of risk and should exclude clients who may not be emotionally stable to participate. We should not allow our desire to gain “great information” to diminish the potential harm to clients. We have an ethical obligation to ensure what we are doing is in the best interest of our clients. As social workers, we should take measures to ensure clients’ confidentiality. However, absolute confidentiality is not always feasible so clients should always be warned about the limits of confidentiality. Social workers should continue to gain new insight regarding issues of social work. This is especially true in regards to a researcher’s particular area of interest. Keeping current on new information ensures that researchers are not relying on information that may be outdated. Whether we are developing our own research or evaluating research to determine its effectiveness for use in our practice, we have an ethical obligation to practice within our level of competence.

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  9. Patricia Ford
    Response to Tomi

    Tomi, you make a valid point regarding the need for continuous research to render the best practice techniques. Continuing research allows us to modify, delete, or create new methods of assisting our clients. The fact that research done in previous years could not be done today illustrates the importance of ongoing research. I cringe when I think of the Prison Experiment and the psychological effect it had on those individuals who were prisoners. Today, we know that the findings of a study do not outweigh the psychological harm to the client. Therefore, it is very important that we take precautions to protect our clients and just as important to keep the client’s dignity and worth in mind as we go about conducting research.

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  10. Tomi,
    I concur with your posting regarding the dignity and worth of person. It is very important as social work practioners that we remain concerned about the individual welfare of our clients. It is our obligation to determine what method of service adequately meets their needs. The concept of research plays an intricate role in this ideal, by providing countless ways to develop new techniques for practice. Without research sampling,the social work profession would remain unaware of what tactics were beneficial and harmful to the client in question.

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  11. Tomi,
    I concur with your ideal regarding the dignity and worth of a person. As social work practitioners, one of our chief objectives such be to respect the dignity and worth of a person while effectively assessing their individual needs. The field of research is of monumental importance when trying to determine what services are going to benefit the client and his or her situation. Without research sampling or surveys, the population would remain unaware of what tactics or resources are successful, and those that hinder the situation. In summary, without a system of trial and error provided on behalf of the field of research, assistance options would be limited.

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  12. Tomi,
    I concur with your opinion regarding the importance of recognizing the dignity and worth of a person. As social work practitioners,one of our chief objectives should be to first assess the client to determine what services would adequately address their individual needs. It is important to respect the client, in order to build rapport and establish individualized services. The field of research plays a significant role in this process by developing multiple resources that correspond to different populations. Without research sampling, the population would remain unaware of what services were beneficial to the individual's problem and those that hindered the situation.

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  13. Original post by Diane Watson.

    The code of ethics states that, “fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living. “ To me this is the essence of research. How could a social worker know how to help their client without being able to know the environmental forces that created the problems that they face and why. The Code also states that, “Social workers should consider ethical theory and principles generally, social work theory and research, laws, regulations, agency policies and other relevant codes of ethics, recognizing that among codes of ethics social workers should consider the NASW code of ethics as their primary source". In this statement the code specifically states that social workers are to consider social work theory and research. One value stated in the Code specifically addresses the integrity of the social worker. In order to maintain your integrity as a social worker you must be able to base the decisions you make on behalf of your clients on good solid research. You must be willing to continue to educate yourself as to the advances in the field and any new research available. They should also be willing to contribute to the vast knowledge base for others in their profession.

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  14. Response comment to Tomi by Diane Watson

    I do agree that social workers must be willing to take the time to do the research in order to ensure the best practice techniques for each of their clients. Yes, the dignity and worth of our research subjects are indeed just as important as the dignity and worth of our clients.

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  15. The NASW Code of Ethics, plays a fundamental role in the social work profession by establishing guidelines for behavior and regulations to encourage accountability. As social work practitioners, our chief responsibilty is to assess the individual needs of the client and determine what services are available to address that need. The field of social work research plays an intricate role in the establishment and evaluation of social services. Without social work research, social workers would remain unaware of what services met their client's needs. You not only consider the client, but the environment that surrounds them. For example, are they a member of a family unit or a single entity? Only through research can a comprehensive assessment be completed. Coprehensive assessments of client's are of monumental importance in determining what services are appropriate. Further, through exploring the field of social work research, social work practitioners are implementing the core value of competence, by analyzing social service options. In addition, social work practitioners must also utilize research tactics when determining their ethical obligations to their employer and assessing their personal values. Without a through assessment of the agencies policies and procedures,social work practitioners are doing a disservice to the profession, as well as, the clients they seek to serve.

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  16. Original posting....
    The NASW Code of Ethics, plays a fundamental role in the social work profession by establishing guidelines for behavior and regulations to encourage accountability. As social work practitioners, our chief responsibilty is to assess the individual needs of the client and determine what services are available to address that need. The field of social work research plays an intricate role in the establishment and evaluation of social services. Without social work research, social workers would remain unaware of what services met their client's needs. You not only consider the client, but the environment that surrounds them. For example, are they a member of a family unit or a single entity? Only through research can a comprehensive assessment be completed. Comprehensive assessments of client's are of monumental importance in determining what services are appropriate. Further, through exploring the field of social work research, social work practitioners are implementing the core value of competence, by analyzing social service options. In addition, social work practitioners must also utilize research tactics when determining their ethical obligations to their employer and assessing their personal values. Without an extensive assessment of the agencies policies and procedures,social work practitioners are doing a disservice to the profession, as well as, the clients they seek to serve.

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  17. The NASW Code of Ethics is very essential to social work and social work research. The guidelines of the code of ethics applies to research in many different ways;in research we are trying to validate that certain programs are effective and promote change to the population that social workers serve.

    As social workers, we promote social justice and social change on behalf of our clients.In order to have change,you have to research different methods and prove that they are viable and they are working for the clients. Social Work research is a process; this relates to ethical decision making. the guidelines of the code of ethics are aware of the impact on ethical decision making has on clients; In research, this is taken into consideration as well.

    To sum everything up, social work research is based on the ethical principles of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships,integrity, and competence.Evidence-Based Research increases our professional knowledge and skills to practice in a social work setting.

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  18. Josh, I LOVE KIDS IS TAMEKA L. ASKEW

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  19. Original Post-Tameka L. Askew

    The NASW Code of Ethics is very essential to the profession of socia work and social work research.The guidelines of the code of ethics applies to research because in research, we are trying to validate that certain programs are effective and promote change to the population that social workers serve.

    As socia workers, we promote social justice and socia change on behalf of our clients. In order to have change, you must conduct evidence-based research methods and prove that they work. Social Work research is a process; this relates to ethical decision making. the guidelines of the code of ethics are aware of the impact on ethical decision making for their clients; in research, this is taken into consideration as well.

    To sump it up, social work research is based on the ethical principles of service, social justice, dignity and worth of a person, importance of human relationships, intergrity and competence; evidence-based research increases social worker's knowledge and skills to practice in the social work setting.

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  20. Misty Macon
    Original Post

    The Code of Ethics relates to Research in too many ways to list them all here unless you want a three page post! A few of the values that stand out to me are service, dignity and worth of a person, integrity, and competence. Social workers are charged to help people in need and to address social problems. If there is no research to back up what we say is a problem, who would really take us seriously? We are to treat every person we work with as we would want to be treated regardless of who or what they are. In research, you must be able to have an unbiased opinion of the people you are working with and you must inform them of your intent so that they have a choice. Integrity is another issue. It would be very easy in research to fudge numbers or tweak information to get the outcome which would help you the most, but that would be completely wrong. Social workers must hold themselves to higher standards than this and be completely honest, whether or not the outcome is what is expected. Finally, competence is also very important. Who would really want to work with someone who does not know or understand what they are doing or talking about? We must be diligent in learning and increasing knowledge in our filed to share with others. Research is an integral part of that process. For these reasons, and so many more, research is important to our profession and others.

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  21. Response to Ms. Askew

    I would like to comment on your summary of the NASW Code of Ethics.

    I truly believe one of the most important ethical issues; which can be personally handled; is competence. My explanation may be temporary to some and longer to others.

    If we analyze today's economy, and the number of individuals who need jobs, current graduates fit the mold. I just want everyone to remember to work in areas that enhance your strengths within social work. I could imagine graduation approaching and just wanting a job within my field of social work.....but I do not want to work with children.....so why would I take a social work job working with children? Maybe because that is the only job that will hire me for the moment. Even though I have mixed feelings about the situation, I would want to be ethical and work in an area of my personal and educational expertise, so, in return, I can practice competence. How do you feel?

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  22. Original Post from Julie Lindsey

    The code of ethics can definitely be used as a guideline for research. The ethical principle of service comes to mind. Research in social work is focused on how to help people be better equipped to meet their needs. Research in social work provides a service to others. I think that research in social work also needs to be extra cautious not to unintentionally harm anyone. What may be considered a social problem to the researcher may not be a problem to the client. I think that it is why it is important when conducting research that social workers keep their own agenda separate from research.

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  23. Response to Diane Watson by Julie Lindsey

    I agree that as social workers, we must research the environment surrounding our clients. I once worked with a young teenager who had behavior problems at school. She had few outbursts while at home. The child could not tell me why she acted out when told to do something at school. After some research, it was discovered that she was dyslexic and embarrassed that she could not read well; therefore, she never put forth any effort in school and became angry when she felt threatened into doing something that she was not able to do.

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  24. Original Post
    Julia Rigsby

    The NASW Code of Ethics is a set of guidelines and standards to guide social workers in their practice. This includes social work research as it is a vital part of the social work profession. While conducting research it is important to remember the same ethical principles and standards apply as if you were actually doing casework. People are more likely to participate in your research if they are valued and treated like people and not test subjects. It is also important to inform individuals participating and allow them to decide if participating is best for them. The NASW Code of Ethics is very important in all aspects of social work, and research is no exception.

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  25. Response to Misty's Original Post
    Julia Rigsby

    I agree that these standards and values are important to the field of social work but also to every field of research. Although the Code of Ethics we are discussing is specifically for social work, the values of service, dignity and worth of a person, integrity, and competence can apply across professions. No matter what type of research people are involved in they deserve honesty and deserve to be treated with respect.

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  26. The ethical standards of the NASW apply to all areas of social work to which research is not exempt.

    Service. Social Justice. Dignity and Worth of a Person. Importance of human relationships. Integrity. Competence.

    The most obvious ethical principle from the above list that relates to research is integrity. Research should exemplify honest results based on evidence. We briefly discussed in class on Saturday the ways that researchers can prove statistically whatever they deem necessary.

    While it may be the most obvious, the other ethical principles can relate to research as well.
    SERVICE
    For example, NASW states that service means to “help people in need and to address social problems.” Research is a huge, if not vital part of solving and improving social problems. If research doesn’t prove what has gone wrong, the social problems can not be addressed properly.
    SOCIAL JUSTICE
    The research gained through addressing social problems can be used to fight social injustices.
    DIGNITY AND WORTH OF A PERSON
    The protocol that is followed in getting permission to study a group of people demonstrates a respect for the dignity and worth of a person.
    IMPORTANCE OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS
    The importance of human relationships in research takes into account that some research will be affected by human interaction.
    COMPETENCE
    Competence comes into play in the way of critical thinking. Research that is not critically thought through and examined can become useless.

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  27. The ethical standards of the NASW apply to all areas of social work to which research is not exempt.

    Service. Social Justice. Dignity and Worth of a Person. Importance of human relationships. Integrity. Competence.

    The most obvious ethical principle from the above list that relates to research is integrity. Research should exemplify honest results based on evidence. We briefly discussed in class on Saturday the ways that researchers can prove statistically whatever they deem necessary.

    While it may be the most obvious, the other ethical principles can relate to research as well.
    SERVICE
    For example, NASW states that service means to “help people in need and to address social problems.” Research is a huge, if not vital part of solving and improving social problems. If research doesn’t prove what has gone wrong, the social problems can not be addressed properly.
    SOCIAL JUSTICE
    The research gained through addressing social problems can be used to fight social injustices.
    DIGNITY AND WORTH OF A PERSON
    The protocol that is followed in getting permission to study a group of people demonstrates a respect for the dignity and worth of a person.
    IMPORTANCE OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS
    The importance of human relationships in research takes into account that some research will be affected by human interaction.
    COMPETENCE
    Competence comes into play in the way of critical thinking. Research that is not critically thought through and examined can become useless.

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  28. Reply to Tameka L. Askew By: Melinda Lanier

    You stated that "evidence-based research increases social worker's knowledge and skills to practice in the social work setting." I agree and want to expound that it also increases the accountability for Social Workers to the Code of Ethics. As Misty stated in her post, dishonesty is sometimes easier than honesty. The Ethical Standards don't always come natural and learning to operate by evidence based practice not only gives our profession validity, but it keeps us accountable to what we truly believe in.

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  29. Response Posting...

    Patricia,

    I think you did an excellent job in providing examples that incorporate the topic of research and direct service to clients. You also gave ample suggestions to the importance of valuing a client's dignity and worth. As social work practitioners, we must recognize that while we have a duty to provide services to clients, we should not infrige upon their individual values, beliefs, or desires. Thus, we must allow the client to exhibit self-determination in planning the appropriate road to recovery.

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  30. Shija Brooks
    Original

    Ethics is the study of what is proper and improper behavior, of moral duty and obligation. Ethics is associated with morality, and both deal with matters of right and wrong. Ethical behavior implies social work practice that upholds the moral obligation or duty to act in a way that is consonant with professional values. The purpose of ethical principles and guidelines is to: help protect clients, subjects or respondents, delineate professional responsibilities, direct data gathering, and guide change effort toward acceptable and worthwhile goals. Social workers promote social justice and social change with and on behalf on clients. Social workers must also be ethical and knowledgeable of current and past research that has been done before recommending to clients. Research and evaluation are essential to ethical social work practice. Research is used to provide high quality services, initiate change, improve practice and policy, and also social service delivery.

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  31. Respone to Tomi

    I agree that clients’ benefits should be considered as first priority. When considering what the client will benefit, we as workers must do the research and know the client. I say if we don’t stay knowledgeable of past and present research….what can we a social workers recommend services or we as social workers attempt to empower our clients.

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  32. Marashia S. McCormick Original Posting

    The NASW Code of Ethics defines the values and standards that govern our profession. From this code, both workers and clients are given a basis for services and care. Although the code can not guarantee 100% ethical behavior, it can guarantee that violators are held accountable. Unethical behavior is a detriment to our client’s and our profession. Without it, there is no mechanism in place to ensure that workers are competent and operating in the best interest of their clients. For this reason,I believe the code functions as the backbone of all social work.

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  33. Marashia S. McCormick Response to Melanie’s Posting

    Melanie, you bring up some interesting points. I never considered the impact of the NASW Code of Ethics on research and more specifically competence. Not only is research critical to determining the efficiency of treatment options, but it verifies the accuracy of services offered, prevention, and outreach. The Code of Ethics’ focus on competence guarantees professional service, and maintains the credibility of our profession.

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  34. Personally, I feel that the most important ethical principle of social work that relates to research is that of "competence." Without competent social workers, the population that seeks services, will not be served in the most effective manner. In my opinion, an acceptbale level of competence cannot be achieved or maintained without an understanding of research and its methods. Often times, social workers are basically thrown into situations that they have absolutely no idea as to the best way to deal with the particular circumstance. Therefore, they will often rely on the opinions of others or settle for methods that have been used before and have most likely worked. But, is that what is really best for that individual or family? Although this is not to say that if a social worker uses this method that it means that he/she is incompetent. However, I do feel that it limits the effectivenes and the outcomes that the individual or family might expect from a professional intervention.

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  35. Response to Original Post by Kristi Maddox:

    Over and over throughout the posts, I keep reading that one of the most important ethical principles is competence. You make a good point with the notion that without research, the validity of written works could be faulty. If social workers cannot "prove their point" with the most up to date information and being able to test that information, how will services and techniques be improved upon. We owe it to the profession to continue learning and applying the knowledge that we gain into our practice.

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  36. Response to Melanie's Original Post:

    You could not be more correct in your statement regarding social workers assessing the policies and procedures of the agencies in which they work for. I also feel that this is very important for many reasons. However, I feel that it is most important due to the fact that if you are following policy and something questionable occurs, then you would have more leverage in the event of a lawsuit, but if not, then this opens up a whole other world of problems. As an employee, I have always wondered what would happen if something happened in a case that I was responsible for. I kept coming back to the fact that if policy is being followed, you have nothing to worry about. Let's just hope that the policy that we follow is firmly grounded in the Code of Ethics.

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  37. Original Post by Jean Fields

    In the Social Work Code of Ethics’ “competence” is named as a value for social workers to practice within their areas of competence and develop and enhance their professional expertise (NASW). This means that social workers must not only study but research an area in social work that they want to be skillful in. Research helps incorporate valid and reliable information within the practice. However, while we are studying, researching and collecting data to validate information, it is important to remember the value of “integrity” and respecting the “dignity and worth of a person.” As mentioned in another classmates post, many studies that were completed in the past would not be authorized today. Those studies would be considered unethical and perhaps illegal, but those past failures helped to guide what is socially just and acceptable in today’s society. It was at this point, that we realized while studying the intricacy of human behavior, we realized that these individuals were “human.” Although, most of the participants in past studies were willing participants, it was learned that research in the field should be use to promote and enhance human condition rather than create negative impacts in the name of “human study.”

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  38. In response to Tameka Askew's original post
    I agree with Tameka’s comment that Social work research is a process that relates to ethical decision making. The first thing that came to my mind while reading her post was is how do we come to an ethical decision making process. Social workers are faced with ethical dilemmas daily so I guess the first consideration would be whether or not something is an ethical issue and do we have all the facts. Have investigated and assessed what route to take. Once we decide what the best course of action is, we then act on it.

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  39. NASW Code of Ethics 5.02 states that social workers should monitor and evaluate policies, the implementation of programs, and practice interventions. Social workers should promote and facilitate evaluation and research for the development of knowledge. I feel that social workers have an ethical duty to help educate and protect the segment of the population that may be vulnerable, yet willing to participate in research. Social workers are to explain to clients that lack necessary comprehension skills to make informed decisions about exactly what the research entails and how it may affect them later. Social workers have a responsibility to see to it that the identity of the participants are protected and that they will have access to the outcomes Malinda S.

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  40. Original Post - Kristen Anton

    I believe the NASW Code of Ethics very much applies to research. The value of service is the first one that jumps out to me. Our primary goal is to "help people in need and address social problems." I think that we should think of this when doing research. I believe that we need research to help improve upon social problems. The second value that I believe most important is integrity. "Social Workers behave in a trustworthy manner." As some know, research can show whatever you want it to show. I don't think that we should alter methods or do other things to manipulate results. We need to do respectful research and show integrity in our studies. It's unethical to do otherwise.

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  41. reply to Melanie's post: by Kristen Anton -

    Melanie brings up an excellent point of the importance of research. It is what we use to help us help our clients. We cannot fully help them if we have false studies or studies that are not thorough. We owe it to our clients to be able to serve them - and we can only do that effectively if we have research that has been done correctly and with integrity.

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  42. Original Post by Carrie Wells

    In the Code of Ethics, the ethical principle of competence states that “social workers practice within their areas of competence and develop and enhance their professional expertise.” Social work research is vital in developing professional competence and proficiency. Learning about various treatment plans that have been proven effective can help clients achieve greater success throughout the helping process. By keeping up with relevant research, social workers are also abiding by the ethical principle of service. With a broad understanding of current research and issues that effect our clients, social workers will be better equipped to address social problems and to help those in need.

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  43. In reponse to TomiI remember discussing in class about some of the research done in the past would not be approved today. I wonder how much of the current research that the IRB has to decline because of the potential harm to participants in this current day and age. I am curious to know just how far the envelope is being pushed in the name of research.

    Malinda S.

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  44. In response to Diane W.
    In order for social workers to be aware of the latest research would require they be will to take the time to educate not only themselves, but monitor the disposition of the public as well. It is the social workers who will have to facilitate the fallout from bad research and the lack of oversight. This fallout could last for decades as with the Tuskegee syphilis incidence.

    Malinda S.

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  45. Misty Macon MontgomeryJanuary 30, 2009 at 7:28 PM

    Misty Macon-General Response

    While I completely agree that we should be mindful of protecting people and practicing ethical research, we can not negate the mounds and mounds of information gained from those early studies. In fact, sometimes I think we are so mindful of others we can lose sight of what we were supposed to be looking for in the first place. I know this does not sound like something a social worker would say, but I feel we must be able to have a good balance between being ethical and truly learning something new and worthwhile. Just a thought.

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  46. Comment to Patricia Ford
    By Carrie Wells

    Causing harm to a client is ethically irresponsible and should be avoided in practice as well as when conducting research. It is our duty as social work professionals to maintain the dignity and worth of the person in all that we do for clients, whether it be empowering them to make positive changes in their lives or utilizing them for research purposes. By adhering to the Code of Ethics relative to the ones Patricia discussed, the primary goal of promoting the well-being of clients will always be achieved.

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  47. Original Post by Kipp Heatherly

    Much like social work practice, conducting social work research carries the inevitability that one will, at some point, face an ethical dilemma. When this occurs, the right- or ‘ethical’- thing to do will, often times, be obvious. However, other times it will be much more ambiguous; for that reason, the NASW Code of Ethics is applicable to social work research. When faced with difficult ethical decisions, it is imperative that one have access to guidelines which identify the values and principles of the social work profession. Additionally, the Code can assist with removing some of the personal biases and subjectivity that often complicates the decision making process.

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  48. Original ethics post:

    The NASW Code of Ethics is very important to the field of social work. The ethical principles were designed to help protect clients and to keep treatment fair and just. They keep the clients from being harmed or mistreated and it keeps the SW accountable. In research, fair practice policies have to be used or clients could easily be taken advantage of. The Code also allows for integrity of the Social Worker. The SW is able to back up their practice methods with evidence of strong research because the researchers followed the ethical guidelines.

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  49. Response to Tomi is by Shija Brooks on 1/26/09

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  50. In response to Jean Fields' original post...

    I think you brought up a good point when you discussed the fact that many of the studies done in the past would not be considered ethical today. Preserving one’s dignity and self worth should always be prioritized when conducting research, but that has not always been the case (see the ‘shocking’ experiment from the SW w/ Groups video). I think that one of the primary reason ethics is applicable to research is to preserve a person’s humanity and prevent them from essentially becoming guinea pigs.

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  51. original post

    When thinking of the Social Work code of ethics as it relates to Social Work research three main values within the code come to mind; service, integrity, and competence. All of the values within the code are important as well as relevant however; in my opinion these three relate more to research than any others. According the Code of Ethics, the ethical principle for the value of service is that the Social Worker’s primary goal should be to help people in need and to address social problems. In this area Social Workers must use their own knowledge and skills in order to appropriately address client problems. In order to provide appropriate and effective services that will meet the clients needs research is needed. As a Social Worker at DHR often times I refer clients for certain services that are not effective. If I had researched these services prior to implementing them I may have been able to learn of the lack of effectiveness. Second, the ethical
    principles of the value of integrity state that Social Workers must behave in a trustworthy manner. Now that we have been introduced to research on a graduate level I feel that we are now held to a higher standard which will require us to insure that the services that we provide are useful to our clients. Our clients should be able to trust that we will provide the best and most appropriate services available. Researching services given to our clients will allow us to provide them the best available and to give them less would be unethical. Last, the principles of competence apply to research as well. The principle written in the code of ethics states that Social Workers should practice in areas of competence develop and enhance expertise. Research is a great tool to use when attempting to increase professional knowledge.

    April Mills

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  52. When I think about the NASW Code of Ethics I think of how we as individuals, not just social workers, should treat people. I love the NASW Code of Ethics because it tells us to treat people with dignity and to use integrity when dealing with them. These are the same values that my mother thought me when I was growing up so it is not hard for me to follow these guidelines. I have been following them for most of my life. When I think of research and the NASW Code of Ethics, I think why would you have to set these guidelines. Why wouldn't people know to give other human being the rights and respect that they think are due to themselves? I know that some people do things that may hurt others, just to get the results that they hope for, but if they will do that, would these guidelines stop them? Researcher, social workers, and other professionals should think of their subjects as people and not guinea pigs and then maybe they wouldn't even need these guidelines. But I do love the NASW Code of Ethics and think that they are perfect for social workers, researchers, and other helping professions. I would love to see the other professions Code of Ethics. I wonder are they similiar to our own, or are the markedly different.

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  53. Reponse Post to Kippsta by Daphne Arnold/MSW student

    I agree with you when you say that researchers will inevitably be faced with an ethical dilemma. It can be hard to know what to do when facing these ethical dilemmas, so the NASW Code of Ethics can be helpful. It can guide our thoughts and actions even when we are not facing an ethical dilemmma. I think that the NASW Code of Ethics message is just as simple as the phrase that mothers teach their children everyday, "Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you". I think that while situations can get a bit hairy, that individuals know in their hearts when they are doing something that is harmful to another person. I think that if you are questioning if something is ethical or not, then your best course of action should be not to do it. If your research hurts one person, then it is not worth doing, in my opinion. I think that the Code can help us to recognize our biases, but I don't think that it will help remove them. That is a decision that is up to each individual person.

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