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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Human research ethics committees: Beyond critique to participation (Papers: Simon Batterbury 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on March 21, 2016

Excerpt: There is frequent criticism by social scientists of Human Research Ethics Committees (HREC). They are accused of ‘ethics creep’, having expanded from their earliest focus in the medical and veterinary sciences following a 1974 ruling in the USA (1985 in Australia) (Haggerty 2004; Dyer and Demeritt 2009). Ethics committees now review any university research involving human ‘subjects’ (Borenstein 2008). Dissatisfaction about the practice of ethics review is especially strong in anthropology, where it is often hard to specify in advance what will be done in a given project and participants are often already known to the researcher (Cowlishaw 2013). Ethnography’s ‘. . .immersive and exploratory nature’ is difficult to predict or constrain in advance of fieldwork (Chenhall et al. 2011: 17). Researchers dislike being forced by their institutions, which may be running scared of lawsuits or costly insurance claims for projects-gone-wrong, to justify and specify their work (Cowlishaw 2013).

Batterbury S (2014) Human research ethics committees: Beyond critique to participation. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 25 (3): 385-386
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Rethinking Vulnerability and Research: Defining the Need for a Post-Research Ethics Audit (Papers: Chesmal Siriwardhana 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on March 16, 2016

Abstract: Vulnerability of research populations is a fundamental area of interest and debate in bioethics. Based on mental health research in a humanitarian setting context, I explore vulnerability-related issues and developing enhanced protective practices. Motivated by experience from mental health research among forced migrants, and faced with a lack of guidance in the sharing of ethical lessons, I explore the concept of post-research ethics audit as a mechanism for reflection that researchers working with vulnerable populations can use. Presently, a coherent post-research strategy to critically examine the quality of ethical frameworks, debrief researcher experience and explore ethical challenges in research implementation is unavailable. The more established clinical audit process can be a model for the post-research ethics audit due to conceptual similarities in improving current practices by comparing the ideal versus the real scenario and measuring the effect of implementing changes. The proposed strategy presents a feasible way of identifying discrepancies between existing guidance and actual on-field implementation of research. Such a concept, if supported by empirical evidence based on its applicability, adaptability and feasibility, can become a platform to identify participant community needs, perceive community-specific ethical challenges, identify gaps in ethical oversight, and examine researcher integrity and potential misconduct. However, such activity needs to be researcher- and ethics committee-friendly, easily adaptable and implementable within existing ethical oversight frameworks, to enhance researcher-driven ethical practices and promote participant involvement.

Siriwardhana C (2015) Rethinking Vulnerability and Research: Defining the Need for a Post-Research Ethics Audit. Asian Bioethics Review  7(2) 188-200 10.1353/asb.2015.0015
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A national survey of experiences with ethics review (Papers: Lisa Wynn et al 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on March 8, 2016

Abstract: In 1985 the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) made its grants for medical research conditional on the receiving institution submitting all human research, whether or not medical and whether or not funded by the NHMRC, for ethics review (NHMRC 2007). However, this NHMRC-induced extension of ethics review to non-medical projects retained the established conceptualisation of research as health and clinical. Over the next two decades, institutions expanded the jurisdiction of their ethics review committees to include methods like ethnography and oral history.

Wynn, L. L., Israel, M., Thomson, C., White, K. L. & Carey-White, L. (2014). A national survey of experiences with ethics review. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 25 (3), 375-377.

Indigenous Research across Continents: A Comparison of Ethically and Culturally Sound Approaches to Research in Australia and Sweden (Books: Kristina MacNeil and Jillian Marsh 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on February 29, 2016

Abstract: In the context of opposition to, or absence of, ethical engagement in Indigenous research, researchers are morally obligated to make a stand that ensures their engagement strategy and implementation plan uses an approach based on positionality, participation, mutual respect, and partnership. Whilst this may involve new challenges for the researcher, such an initiative maximises the likelihood of an empowering and culturally
safe process for vulnerable participants, including inexperienced researchers. As two early career researchers, we reflect on our experiences amidst some of the challenges within Indigenous research. These challenges include ethical, methodological and structural issues. The main aims of this chapter are to advocate for practical and philosophical reform of Indigenous research ethics particularly in the context of decolonisation; ultimately
to maximise the benefits of research primarily for community research participants, service providers, and policy makers as opposed to primarily for the academy. The authors’ experiential and theoretical knowledge enables a critical understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of a decolonising research approach and how this guides the development of an appropriate ethics protocol. We acknowledge that research impacts on Indigenous peoples’ lives, often in a negative or unintended manner, and its governance varies dramatically according to individual as well as institutional values that are steeped in Western thought including colonialism. This paper draws on scholarly theoretical knowledge of cultural
protocols and the governance of ethical processes from international and local sources, as well as our own experiences in cross-cultural communication to articulate what we call a Decolonising Standpoint. We regard this as a necessary addition to the implementation of an
Indigenous Standpoint in the context of research, which has provided a highly credible philosophy and practice for Indigenous researchers. We aim to create an additional and quite distinct position that non-Indigenous researchers can add to their repertoire of skills and knowledge in the context of Indigenous research.

MacNeil K. Marsh, J. (2015). Indigenous Research across Continents: A Comparison of Ethically and Culturally Sound Approaches to Research in Australia and Sweden.In Huijser, H., Ober, R., O’Sullivan, S. McRae-Williams, E & Elvin, R. (Ed.) Finding the Common Ground: Narratives, Provocations and Reflections from the 40 Year Celebration of Batchelor Institute. (pp119-126) Batchelor Press, NT.
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