A New Wave of Positivism in the Social Sciences: Regulatory Capture and Conceptual Constraints in the Governance of Research Involving Humans

48 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2016  

Igor Gontcharov

Osgoode Hall Law School; Critical Research Laboratory in Law & Society, Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: October 31, 2016

Abstract

The task of this paper is to identify key conceptual limitations of prospective ethics review in the social sciences and humanities and discuss the implications of employing a positivist methodological toolkit in designing a governance framework for all research involving humans. This is necessary to facilitate a revision of the Tri-Council Policy Statement in a way that would built upon and enhance the pluralistic ethico-methodological nature of the social sciences and humanities.

The paper consists of two parts, examining procedural and conceptual aspects in the governance of research involving humans, respectively. First, it focuses on the procedural reasons that contributed to the adoption of a one-size-fits-all regulatory model in 1998 and the limited ability of the regulators to respond to the criticisms of social researchers in the subsequent iterations of the Tri-Council Policy Statement in 2010 and 2014. Second, it offers an analysis of the positivist conceptual framework, including methodological reductionism, objectivism, and universalism, and its impact on policy making in research involving humans.

Keywords: Research Ethics, Professional Ethics, Research Governance, Professional Governance, Academic Ethics, Research Policy, Ethics Committees, Knowledge Production, Science Policy and Social Sciences

JEL Classification: I00, I2, I20, I28, K23, K32, K00

Suggested Citation

Gontcharov, Igor, A New Wave of Positivism in the Social Sciences: Regulatory Capture and Conceptual Constraints in the Governance of Research Involving Humans (October 31, 2016). Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10/2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2861908 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2861908

Igor Gontcharov (Contact Author)

Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

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Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Critical Research Laboratory in Law & Society, Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

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Toronto, Ontario M3J1P3
Canada

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