In an article about values, Roger Gomm gives the example of a sociologist carrying out a survey for a housing authority, showing housing patterns in terms of the ethnic origins of the tenants.
Maps were drawn up to illustrate these patterns, but the sociologist was not informed about how the maps might be used.
The housing authority could potentially use them as guidance in breaking up communities, in searching for criminals or bombs, or in producing ghettoes. The communities themselves could potentially use the information in campaigns against the authority or against each other.
- What moral and/or political issues does this situation present for the sociologist?
- Suggest two other types of research that could be used for both positive and negative purposes by those with access to the findings.