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Dealing with Un(Expected) Ethical Dilemma: Experience from the Field (Papers: Zaleha Othman and Fathilatul Zakimi Hamid | 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on April 10, 2018

Despite the growing interest in qualitative research and discussion of ethics, there has been little focus in the literature on the specific ethical dilemmas faced by researchers. In this paper, we share our fieldwork experiences regarding the ethical dilemmas that we encountered while doing research on a sensitive topic. Specifically, we share some of the ethical dilemmas, that is, concerning confidentiality, anonymity, legitimacy, controversial data, interpretation and off -the-record data, which emerged from the research. Most importantly, this paper shares ideas concerning how researchers might deal with ethical issues while preserving their integrity in the research process. Overall, this paper suggests approaches that qualitative researchers can adopt when doing research on sensitive topics. the paper contributes towards closing an existing gap in the literature, making visible the challenges frequently faced by qualitative researchers, that is, the vulnerability of researchers while preserving research integrity. Finally, this paper concludes with the suggestion that ethical dilemmas are part of the research process in doing qualitative research. However, it is suggested that future research should focus on ethical issues from the perspective of the researchers as well as the respondents.

Ethical Dilemma, Research, Sensitive, Qualitative Research, Con dential, Anonymity

Othman Z. & Abdul Hamid, F. (2018). Dealing with Un(Expected) Ethical Dilemma: Experience from the Field. The Qualitative Report, 23(4), 733-741. Retrieved from
Publisher (Creative Commons):

(South Africa) University of Pretoria Code of Ethics for Research (Released 2007, updated 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on April 5, 2018

We were impressed by the Pretoria Code because of its approach to social responsibility. Together with the discussion of how social responsibility as a component of research ethics operates in South Africa, it is interesting, particularly the need to engage with, but also remain independent of, government priorities. The recognition that there are different concepts of justice is more sophisticated than discussions in many other national frameworks (including the Australian National Statement).


The University of Pretoria gives high priority to research as one of the primary functions of the university community.

It pursues a research ethos that promotes excellence as well as ethical responsibility in the search for and the creation, conservation and transfer of knowledge.

Consequently, researchers at the University are required to pursue the highest standards of excellence and ethical behaviour in all their research activities…

Access the Code






1. The rights of researchers

1.1 Academic freedom
1.2 Research environment
1.3 Facilities, services and other resources

2. The responsibilities of researchers

2.1 Social responsibility
2.2 Justice
2.3 Benevolence
2.4 Respect for the individual
2.5 Professionalism
2.6 Refraining from discrimination
2.7 Refraining from abusing supervisory authority
2.8 Refraining from sexual harassment


1. Researchers and South African society

1.1 South African society
1.2 The government of the day
1.3 The environment

2. Researchers and clients or funders of research

2.1 Conflict of interests
2.2 Confidentiality of research results
2.3 Financial obligations
2.4 Equipment control
2.5 Funds for new fields of research

3. Researchers, the University and the broad science community

3.1 General conduct
3.2 Academic misconduct
3.3 Conflict of interests
3.4 Intellectual property

4. Researchers and their colleagues or collaborators

4.1 Authorship
4.2 Selecting research partners
4.3 Assisting with the research of others
4.4 Health and safety

Dark past of deep-brain stimulation – Nature (Christian Lüscher | March 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on April 1, 2018

Christian Lüscher considers an alarming career from the early days of psychiatry.

Many people consider deep-brain stimulation (DBS) to have begun in 1987 in Grenoble, France, when Pierre Pollak and Alim Benabid stopped a person’s tremor by delivering high-frequency pulses of electricity to her thalamus. In fact, more than three decades earlier, a psychiatrist called Robert G. Heath at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, had experimented with this approach. Now, science writer Lone Frank pulls Heath (1915–99) from obscurity for her exploration of DBS, The Pleasure Shock.

As AHRECS readers know, we believe there is a trap in using egregious ethical lapses/scandals in human research ethics professional development activities, but this awful story is a less commonly known example and a chance to talk about the ends not justifying the means.

Frank has traced and interviewed surviving patients, former collaborators, family members and current DBS scientists. The result is a rarity: a thrilling, well-researched read. Above all, it is a chilling reminder of how early neurosurgical experimentation knew few ethical boundaries — even firmly within the medical and academic establishment. Heath was chair of Tulane’s psychiatry and neurology department for 31 years, from 1949 to 1980.
Today, DBS is an approved treatment for Parkinson’s disease, dystonia (uncontrollable muscle contractions) and essential tremor. Other indications, such as therapy for obsessive–compulsive disorder, depression and addiction, are the focus of intensive research. Just a few patients are treated ‘off label’, with mixed results.

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New curriculum prioritizes tribal sovereignty, cultural respect in scientific research of American Indian, Alaska Native communities – UW News (Kim Eckart | February 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on March 27, 2018

When scientists have conducted research in Native American communities, the process and the results have sometimes been controversial.

There have been a few well-known cases, such as the 1979 Barrow Alcohol Study, in which researchers examined substance use in the tiny Arctic Circle town and issued findings to the press, before briefing the local community. Media coverage interpreting the findings described an “alcoholic” society of Iñupiats “facing extinction,” while the people of Barrow (now known as Utqiaġvik) felt betrayed, and researchers faced questions and criticism.

Then in 1990, members of the Havasupai Tribe gave DNA to an Arizona State University researcher for the study of diabetes; when they learned their blood samples had been used for other studies as well, they filed a lawsuit, ultimately winning a financial settlement and the return of their DNA.

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