In her latest thought-provoking post Stephanie Taplin reflects on social research with children/young adults and the impact of offering them incentives in the form of payments.
These matters have been controversial for research ethics committee and resulted in a block of items in the review feedback from the reviewing committee/s.
Despite the authority provided by the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (NHMRC, 2007, updated 2018) HRECs can be nervous about approving such research with incentives.
Despite this difficulty for reviewers, incentives in the form of payments definitely increases the chances that a young person will respond to a recruitment strategy.
Stephanie’s work has highlighted the degree to which a review body may be more comfortable with the offer of a chance to win and an incentive in a prize draw, at values over ten times as high as the direct incentive payment.
Another area of tension between the preferences of review body and young people is the difference between face-to-face interviews and anonymous questionnaires.
In this post Stephanie reflects on why researchers should engage with HRECs on these matters, rather than choose a path most likely to be accepted immediately by a committee.
In this terrific post, Sara Gottliebsen reflects on the last few years’ experiences in organising the incredibly popular annual human research ethics webinar.
This free event was first conceived of by Gorden McGurk, who has organised the webinars over the last few years.
The Human Research Ethics conferences have established a very high standard for the design, execution, speakers and contents for such an event.
The event received very high praise and deserved to get it.
The itinerary of speakers, events and activities for a free event is simply remarkable and deserving of the highest praise.
Well done Gordon, Sara and the team.
AHRECS is proud to be one of the inaugural sponsors of this event and will be continuing our sponsorship in 2022.
In this incredibly interesting post, Racheal Laugery reflects on an incredibly uncomfortable but very timely question.
Is the current approach to research ethics review fit for purpose?
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, border closes and reduced international student income, insufficient government funding and a drive towards commercial research/commercialisation is our current approach to research ethics review Imbil and responsive enough?
What needs to be challenged and
changed? How can we get there? Who will need professional development and capacity building?
This requires an approach to reform that is focused on research ethics reviewers, researchers and research office staff.
Change won’t be quick and easy, but is absolutely necessary to ensure an institution’s arrangements are fit for the time.
Our approach will need to be interactive and responsive to problems that we can’t foresee yet.
In this controversial post, AHRECS Senior Consultant Dr Gary Allen poses the challenging question: Should institutions with lean and fast proportional review arrangements leverage them as incentives for ethical behaviour.
AHRECS recommends institutions resourcing reflective practice, rather than police compliance (https://www.ahrecs.com/resources/resourcing-reflective-practice-whiteboard-video-7-5-min) but could such a systemic reward be helpful?
He discusses the behaviour that could be rewarded and how the reward might function.
The post suggests the arrangements, processes and data collection institutions will need to have in place to make such a reward system work.
While we are generally not fans of introducing any punitive element to human research ethics, preferring collegiate approaches that are focussed constructively on an institution’s research culture, this is an interesting idea. It is worth further serious consideration.
Adele’s Adventures in Wonderland*: Reflections on a 12-year journey in ethics, research integrity and so much more
In this post, inspired by Lewis Carol’s book, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Adele Kay reflects on the wild and wacky (and sometimes surreal) experiences she had in a great career in the human research ethics, research integrity, animal, etc spaces.
She generously shares observations, tips and suggestions how to navigate this space with good humour.
Part of this is reading, interpreting and explaining national frameworks to executive and other senior staff.
She reflects upon useful skills, experience, training and education.
Working for constructive change on these matters from within an institution can sometimes be frustrating and feel a little wacky. Often AHRECS has been brought in to provide an independent and expert opinion on what internal staff have been saying for some time.
We suspect her commentary and experiences will both ring true for experienced practitioners and offer helpful tips.
We greatly enjoyed this post and we hope you will too.
Samaritans UK: Developing ‘fit for purpose’ research ethics processes within a large third sector organisation
In this post, Simon Anderson (AHRECS Associate) and Liz Scowcroft (Head of Research & Evaluation, Samaritans UK) discuss the history of research ethics policy and research ethics review at Samaritans (UK).
Part of this discussion reflected on moving beyond arrangements that are very similar to those used by higher education institutions toward something better suited to the needs of the 3rd Sector.
This requires a clear understanding that the designs, outputs, objectives and needs of a significant portion of research that is conducted internally to the 3rd sector is different and needs different Solutions.
A proportional approach to research ethics review and related processes have been adopted by Samaritans, as well as widening of the definition of research and a whole of institution commitment to research ethics.
Simon and AHRECS were delighted to work with Samaritans to produce a blueprint for constructive change.
Send an email to email@example.com if you would like to discuss how we could assist your institution.
Investigating an ethical barrier – should HRECs require gatekeeper approval from universities before external research?
Investigating an ethical barrier – should HRECs require gatekeeper approval from universities before external research? | In this traffic post, Kate Christian questions the elephant in the room when it comes to research about universities.
Why do ethics committees require the approval of the institution?
Especially when participants aren’t vulnerable.
Whose interests are they protecting and why?
For national research, the results can be time-consuming, frustrating and add a little to the research.
Early career researchers might meekly accept this but it sucks time, energy and resources. But research Ethics committees should ask themselves the questions: Is this efficient and is it fair? Insisting upon institutional approval may well be skewing the data and distorting the results?
What do HREC members think and do when deciding about children’s participation in social research? Results from the MESSI survey
In this guest post, Associate Professor Stephanie Taplin (UTS) reflects upon the reflections and attitudes of members of a research ethics committee when reviewing a project involving sensitive issues, where the participants are young people.
She reflects upon the degree that this consideration is based upon standards and expectations that are often not transparent to researchers and can be an impediment to useful/important research.
This post is based upon a longer research output that was about research exploring those attitudes.
This included whether there were topics that a research ethics committee member would never approve for a research project to explore with young people.
This work points to the need for specialist professional development for committee members relating to research on sensitive issues with young people.
This also raises the question of what guidance material institutions publish for researchers and for reference by research ethics reviewers.
In this issue, we are publishing an account of an end-of-life project in whose
“Have you got ethics yet?” is a question asked frequently where health, social and
Mike Adorjan and Rose Ricciardelli’s edited collection, Engaging with Ethics in International Criminological Research,
Have you ever needed to find a history of human research ethics, whether for