Can pursuing a career in sociology land you in jail? As inconceivable as that may sound, ask sociology graduate student Scott DeMuth, and he’ll likely tell you that indeed it can. Mr. DeMuth’s recent jailing sparked debate across the blogosphere about the ethical rights and obligations of social researchers and about the moral and public purpose of sociological research. We’ll discuss DeMuth’s research later in this chapter. But first, let’s consider the primary factor that shapes the ethics of sociological research: the fact that we conduct research on living human beings.