Robert King Merton (4 July 1910 – 23 February 2003) was an American sociologist. He spent most of his career teaching at Columbia University, where he attained the rank of University Professor. In 1994 he was awarded the National Medal of Science for his contributions to the field and for having founded the sociology of science. He is considered a founding father of modern sociology.
Merton developed notable concepts such as "unintended consequences", the "reference group", and "role strain", but is perhaps best known for the terms "role model" and "self-fulfilling prophecy". A central element of modern sociological, political, and economic theory, the "self-fulfilling prophecy" is a process whereby a belief or expectation, correct or incorrect, affects the outcome of a situation or the way a person or group will behave.
Merton's work on the "role model" first appeared in a study on the socialization of medical students at Columbia University. The term grew from his theory of the reference group, the group to which individuals compare themselves but to which they do not necessarily belong. Social roles were central to Merton's theory of social groups. Merton emphasized that, rather than a person assuming one role and one status, they have a status set in the social structure that has, attached to it, a whole set of expected behaviors....LESS
This book is an easy to read, yet comprehensive introduction to practical issues in research ethics and scientific integrity. It addresses questions about what constitutes appropriate academic and scientific behaviors from the point of view of what Robert Merton called the ethos of science. In other words, without getting into tricky questions about the nature of the good or right (as philosophers often do), Koepsell s concise book provides an approach to behaving according to the norms of science and academia without delving into the morass of philosophical ethics.
The central thesis is that: since we know certain behaviors are necessary for science and its institutions to work properly (rather than pathologically), we can extend those principles to guide good behaviors as scientists and academics.
The Spanish version of this book was commissioned by the Mexican National Science Foundation (CONACyT) and is being distributed to and used by Mexican scientists in a unique, national plan to improve scientific integrity throughout all of Mexico. Available now in English, the examples and strategies employed can be used throughout the English speaking research world for discussing issues in research ethics, training for scientists and researchers across disciplines, and those who are generally interested in ethics in academia.