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Scottish Government Social Research Ethics Guidance and Sensitivity checklist0

Posted by Admin in on September 10, 2016

Section A: Introduction

Welcome to the new and improved Ethics Guidance for Scottish Government Social Researchers. This guidance covers ethics issues for social researchers and includes details of how to fill out an ethics checklist, and the procedures for an ethics peer review. This is an amended version for external publication, as some of the original guidance refers to internal data storage/processing issues.

When to Use this guidance

scottish_sreThe Scottish Government expects that its researchers and social research contractors will follow the highest practical ethical standards in delivering research that is vital to the interests of the people of Scotland. It is mandatory for all research projects undertaken or Commissioned by Scottish Government Social Researchers. It does not replace other organisations mandatory procedures e.g. when working in the NHS. Researchers should also remain mindful of the many external ethical resources that are available to provide more advice on ethical issues when undertaking research. For example there is ethics guidance available from the following organisations (click icons for link)…”


Section A: Introduction 3
When to Use this guidance 3

Section B: Social Research Ethics Principles 4
The Principles 4
Principle 1: Sound application and conduct of social research methods and appropriate dissemination and utilisation of the findings 4
Principle 2: Participation based on valid informed consent 4
……Challenging issues for Consent 6
Principle 3: Enabling Participation 8
Principle 4: Avoidance of Personal harm 9
Principle 5 : Non-disclosure of identity and personal information 10

Section C: Scottish Government Standard Ethics Procedures 11
Ethical Sensitivity Checklist 12
Assessing Ethical Sensitivity 13
Sensitivity Rating and Sign off 14

Section D: Ethical Roles and Responsibilities of SG Researchers 15
Project Managers Ethical Responsibilities 15

Section E: The Procedure for Ethics Peer Review 16
Purpose 16
Membership of an Ethics Peer Review Group 17
Process 17

Access the checklist

Approval of the Resolution governing the ethics of research in social sciences, the humanities, and other disciplines that use methodologies characteristic of these areas: challenges and achievements (Iara Coelho Zito Guerriero 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on September 8, 2016


On April 6 2016, the National Board of Health (CNS) approved the Resolution governing the ethical specificities of research in social sciences and the humanities, as well as in other disciplines that use methodologies characteristic of these areas (SSH Resolution). This is the first Brazilian standard focused specifically on these areas. The text is waiting for approval from the Ministry of Health and publication in the Federal Daily Gazette (DOU).

Herein we present the Working Group in Social Sciences and the Humanities of the National Research Ethics Committee (SSH/CONEP WG), its working processes and the main progress and challenges of the SSH Resolution.

In July 2013, the National Research Ethics Committee (CONEP) organized a working group to draft the minutes of a resolution on the ethical specificities of research in social sciences and the humanities across its full range of diversity, yet keeping a focus on protecting the human rights of study participants. Creating the SSH/CONEP WG was the result of old claims on the part of CONEP members in Social and Human Sciences (SSH), and of researchers and scientific associations. This claim was also recently reiterated by the Forum on Human, Social and Applied Human Sciences. The initial result of this strong demand was recognition, in CNS Resolution 466/12, of the need to draft such a resolution…

Guerriero Iara Coelho Zito. (2016) Approval of the Resolution governing the ethics of research in social sciences, the humanities, and other disciplines that use methodologies characteristic of these areas: challenges and achievements. Ciênc. saúde coletiva. 21(8)  pp2619-2629 ISSN 1413-8123.
Publisher (Open access):

Ethics in Violence and Abuse Research – a Positive Empowerment Approach (Papers: Julia Downes, et al 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on August 25, 2016


Research governance, including research ethics committees and data protection legislation, is invested in protecting the individual rights of participants in social care and health research. Increasingly funders expect evidence of outcomes that engage with ‘service users’, making research critical in supporting social interventions to compete for scant resources in an economic climate marked by ‘austerity’ (Sullivan 2011). This article focuses on the tensions that can arise from the research governance of violence and abuse research. We argue that increased scrutiny of violence and abuse as a ‘sensitive’ topic that involves ‘vulnerable’ groups has made ethical clearance more challenging, which in turn can lead to a dangerous lack of evidence. This can have a harmful impact upon women and children and leave specialised violence and abuse services facing a precarious future. Drawing on recent debates we describe the ‘positive empowerment’ approach used to engage victim-survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence in Project Mirabal. We conclude with recommendations for ethical decision-making in violence and abuse research: (i) to reconsider participants as active agents and stakeholders; (ii) to prioritise the development of skilled researchers; (iii) to develop situated processes of informed consent and confidentiality; and (iv) to continue to discuss and share practical experiences of feminist research practice that seeks to deliver justice and social change.

Keywords: Research Governance, Research Ethics, Research Design, Confidentiality, Informed Consent, Violence, Abuse

Downes J, Kelly L and Westmarland N (2014) Ethics in Violence and Abuse Research – a Positive Empowerment Approach. Sociological Research Online, 19 (1) 2 10.5153/sro.3140

Identifying individuals while protecting privacy – The Ethics Blog (Pär Segerdahl August 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on August 24, 2016

Research ethics is complex and requires considering issues from several perspectives simultaneously. I’ve written about the temptation to reduce par-segerdahlresearch ethics to pure protection ethics. Then not as much needs to be kept in mind. Protection is the sole aim, and thinking begins to resemble the plot of an adventure film where the hero finally sets the hostages free.

Protection is of course central to research ethics and there are cases where one is tempted to say that research participants are taken hostage by unscrupulous scientists. Like when a group of African-American men with syphilis were recruited to a research study, but weren’t treated because the researchers wanted to study the natural course of the disease.

Everyday life is not one big hostage drama, however, which immediately makes the issues more complex. The researcher is typically not the villain, the participant is not the victim, and the ethicist is not the hero who saves the victim from the villain. What is research ethics in everyday situations…

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