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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Listening to the Voices of the People: The Psychosocial Influences and Consequences of Research in Ethnocultural Communities (Books: Joseph Trimble, et al | 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on February 14, 2017

In the past three decades, there has been a dramatic increase in mental health research conducted among ethnic and nationalistic groups. As the interest has increased so have the concerns of many ethnocultural communities about research in general and the presence of researchers in their communities. The rising community concerns accompanied with the emergence of community-based research review committees presents extraordinary challenges for researchers – challenges that are only beginning to be fully and seriously acknowledged at methodological, procedural, and conceptual levels. The most important challenge though is the actual responsible conduct of researchers while they are in the field and the relationship they establish with their respondents. The chapter discusses the history of how research has been conducted in ethnocultural communities with the use of culturally inappropriate designs, methodology, and interpretation. Consequently, communities are now taking steps to protect themselves against the harm, which has come from the past abuses of research practices and the insensitivities of the researchers. Moreover, it is essential to educate ethnocultural communities about healing from the effects of past research and subsequently teach communities how to empower themselves in future research endeavors. Research can be beneficial to ethnocultural communities if appropriate measures are taken to ensure cultural responsiveness and solid grounding in the culturally unique lifeways and thoughtways of the communities.

Keywords: ethics; community empowerment; participatory action research; culturally sensitive research.

Trimble, J. E., Casillas, D. M., Boyd, B., & King, J. (2017). Listening to the Voices of the People: The Psychosocial Influences and Consequences of Research in Ethnocultural Communities. In Social Issues in Living Color: Challenges and Solutions from the Perspective of Ethnic Minority Psychology [3 volumes], 305. Praeger Books
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Common Rule Reform – A Botched Job – Network Blogger (Robert Dingwall | January 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on January 26, 2017

US social scientists have long complained about the impact of the Common Rule, the main federal regulation governing the ethical review of biomedical and behavioral research by Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). This was first enacted in 1991 and last revised in 2005. In 2011, the relevant federal agencies announced a review, leading to the publication of revised regulations on the very last day of the Obama presidency. An international policy community has closely followed these US debates because of their influence on the frameworks for ethical regulation established elsewhere.

A 2014 report of the National Research Council of the National Academies (NRC) and by the draft regulations issued for consultation in 2016 raised hopes of sensible reform. The final drafting, however, seems to have been distracted by a major controversy over access to biospecimens. There are also signs of haste to enact regulations before the change of administration. Biomedical agendas have once again crowded out proper consideration of social science concerns.

The NRC set out a coherent approach that appropriately identified virtually all social science research as minimal risk. It should be ‘excused’ from ethical regulation on the basis that participants were well able to judge the risk and make their own decisions. A small number of experimental or intervention studies might require IRB review but everything else should just be registered. Specific consent should not be required for most studies – it could be inferred from willingness to fill in a survey or continue with an interview or focus group. Observations in public spaces, including social media, would also be ‘excused,’ as would most re-use of administrative data sets. ‘Vulnerable groups’ would no longer be listed but assumed normally to be capable of judging their own best interests. This approach was largely adopted by the draft regulations, which substituted the term ‘excluded’ for ‘excused’. IRBs would lose their jurisdiction over most social science research, unless it fell within narrow criteria or they could justify calling it in from the registration documents. There were still uncertainties about the status of participant observation or ethnography, but the approach was broadly welcomed by the community.

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Documenting the Impact of Conflict on Women Living in Internally Displaced Persons Camps in Sri Lanka: Some Ethical Considerations0

Posted by Admin in on January 22, 2017

In December 2005, The Asia Foundation invited Women’s Rights International (WRI) to Sri Lanka to conduct an assess­ment of the infrastructure for support­ing a population-based random-sample survey of the impact of the conflict on Sri Lankan women. The goal of the survey would be to use statistical sampling methods to interview women selected at random in order to estimate the scope of human rights violations, including sexual violence, as well as a broader scope of long-term direct and indirect economic and health conse­quences of the conflict. The survey would complement ongoing efforts by the Human Rights Accountability Coalition to document political and ethnic violence in Sri Lanka.

The December 2005 assessment addressed the following issues:

  • The level of need for initiating a new effort to document the impact of the conflict on women
  • The quantity and quality of existing documents or records that reflect the impact of conflict on women
  • The current capacity among local organizations for supporting a docu-mentation effort

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Generic Risks of Exporting Non-Ethical Practices0

Posted by Admin in on January 5, 2017

Executive Summary
The potential to be exploited is part of the human condition. Even superheroes usually have an Achilles’ heel, or vulnerability. Take for instance, Superman, whose vulnerability is kryptonite.

Exploiters take advantage of others’ vulnerabilities to promote their own interests. Whilst there is a morally neutral sense of exploitation (the exploitation of natural talents to create art, for example), the term is generally used to describe a moral failing.

Exploiting others is morally wrong.

This report is about the risks for exploitation for defined entities, in other words, ‘Achilles’ heels’ in research. What makes exploitation more likely to occur due to vulnerabilities that can be exploited, either knowingly or unknowingly?

After careful analysis of the relevant literature and case studies, as well as consultation withleading ethics committee chairs and representatives of vulnerable populations from low and middle income countries (LMICs), an exploitation risk table was produced. Risks were categorized according to the points at which vulnerability occurred, and were grouped according to four values which have to be present to avoid exploitation in North-South collaborations: fairness, respect, care and honesty. Trustworthiness is achieved when all four values are realized.

Kate Chatfield, Doris Schroeder, Klaus Leisinger, Jaci van Niekerk, Ngayo Munuo, Rachel Wynberg and Paul Woodgate (2016) Generic Risks of Exporting Non-Ethical Practices, a report for TRUST