Discussion: Issues in Survey Research

Survey methods research, when optimally designed and executed, considers legal, ethical, sociopolitical, and cultural issues and addresses them accordingly. Some of these issues include the legality of using particular participants, which questions can be asked, and what can and cannot be done with certain controversial and potentially damaging information, as well as ensuring the project is not in violation of any laws. Ethical issues center on the protection of participants and include safety, informed consent, privacy, debriefing information, resources, and openness. Sociopolitical issues involve fairness, representation, exclusion, and demographics—all representative of the population of interest. Finally, cultural issues include linguistic fairness, as well as religious, ethnic, and any cultural components that would maximize the quality of the study and collected data.
All of these issues relate to cultural competence as a psychology professional and specifically as a survey researcher. Cultural competence in survey research includes the idea that as a researcher working with a particular sample from a population, you are competent in terms of how you are assessing that sample.
For this week, you will select two legal, ethical, sociopolitical, or cultural issues related to survey research, and think about how you might address these issues while conducting survey research. Then you will consider the potential benefits of survey research for fostering cultural competence in psychology in order to optimally facilitate social change.

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