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Planning Research Ethics


This chapter will discuss why planning researchers of all kinds – faculty, students, consultants – need to be ethically sensitive. The chapter is written against a background of what has been termed an ‘”ethical” turn’ in many disciplines, and an increasing regulation (and bureaucratisation) of planning (and other) research conducted within universities. Ladd (1980,) argues that there are no ethical principles which are specific to any occupation. In this chapter we argue that the circumstances of planning research, at least, raise distinctive ethical issues . The chapter begins by considering the ethical dimensions of research practice. These will differ according to the way research practice is understood. It then asks why regulation of researchers’ conduct is now such a preoccupation of universities and researchers. Finally, it examines the nature of codes of ethics and when they are likely to be most effective.