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I do believe that research requires a system of ethics. I have always advocated for fairness and inclusion as critical for positive outcomes in social interactions. This system serves as a guiding force for thinking through dynamic issues and potential problems that may arise as well as how to design or improve research studies. A system of ethics enhances researcher skills and provides common foundations and language from which to advance the field. Our assigned readings do provide a holistic lens for self-reflection on how ethics appear in our lives both as a mandate and as an aspiration.
Additionally, if the social sciences are to be committed to an agenda of multiculturalism, then the field must also be committed to social justice. For example, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2021), or CDC, has declared racism a public health crisis. This is significant because it nationally recognizes racism as system that is both interpersonal and structural in nature that negatively affects mental and physical health. The CDC, much like professional counseling organizations have emphasized the importance of multicultural competencies for decades, but its fascinating how much 2020 and beyond has exposed why these stances have been so critical.
Vera and Speight (2003) suggest that counseling as a field has largely remained a remedial medical model of service delivery, meaning that a client or community problem has developed and the counselor(s) work to ameliorate the problem. From my understanding, this is a 21st century call to action that is grounded in research principled ethics, but also challenges the field to innovate how social value may be pursued.
Vera and Speight (2003) also suggest the fragmentation that has existed within the helping professions must be addressed. For example, social workers are historically viewed as community level interventionists or case managers and psychologists are more geared toward clinical or therapeutic services. To address the complex issues in communities today, there should be more integration between different types of helpers and researchers regardless of title or credential. Sound research principles is one potential way to unify the different roles helpers play.