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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Research, Ethics And Risk In The Authoritarian Field (Books: Marlies Glasius, et al | 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on May 6, 2018
 

Abstract
In this introduction to Research, Ethics and Risk in the Authoritarian Field, we explain why and how we wrote this book, who we are, what the ‘authoritarian field’ means for us, and who may find this book useful. By recording our joint experiences in very different authori- tarian contexts systematically and succinctly, comparing and contrasting them, and drawing lessons, we aim to give other researchers a framework, so they will not need to start from scratch as we did. It is not the absence of free and fair elections, or repression, that most prominently affects our fieldwork in authoritarian contexts, but the arbitrariness of authoritarian rule, and the uncertainty it results in for us and the people in our fieldwork environment.

Keywords
Authoritarianism, Field research, Reflection, Uncertainty, Qualitative research, Fieldwork methods

Glasius, M., de Lange, M. Bartman, J. Dalmasso, E. Lv, A. Sordi, A.D. Michaelsen, M. Ruijgrok, K.(2017). Research, Ethics and Risk in the Authoritarian Field, Springer International Publishing
Publisher (Open Access): https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2F978-3-319-68966-1.pdf

Contents

1 Introduction
Why This Book
Who We Are
What Is the Authoritarian Field?
How We Experience Authoritarianism
Beyond ‘Westerners’ and ‘Locals’
How We Wrote This Book
Who This Book Is For
References

2 Entering the Field
Ethics Procedures
Gaining Entry: Permits and Visas
Constrained Choices
Not So Dangerous
And Yet It Can Be Dangerous
Assessing Risk in Advance
Going the Anthropologist Way
Encountering the Security Apparatus
Data Security Trade-Offs
Chapter Conclusion: Planning Ahead and Accepting Risk
References

3 Learning the Red Lines
Hard Red Lines
Fluid Lines
Depoliticizing the Research
Wording
Getting Locals to Vet Your Wording
Behaviors
Shifting Red Lines—Closures
Shifting Red Lines—Openings
Chapter Conclusion: Navigating the Red Lines
References

4 Building and Maintaining Relations in the Field
Building Connections
Local Collaborators
Refusals
Testing the Waters
Work with What You Have
Where to Meet
Triangulation, Not Confrontation
Sensitive Information
Being Manipulated
Doing Things in Return
Chapter Conclusion: Patience, Trust, and Recognition
References

5 Mental Impact
Targeted Surveillance
Stress, Fear, and Paranoia
Betrayal and Disenchantment
Hard Stories
The Field Stays with Us
Attending to and Coping with Mental Impact
Pressure to Get Results
Positive Mental Impact
Chapter Conclusion: Talk About It
Reference

6 Writing It Up
The Call for Transparency
Interviews with ‘Ordinary People’
Interviews with ‘Expert Informants’
Interviews with ‘Spokespersons’
Protective Practices
Off-the-Record Information
Anonymity vs. Transparency
Transparency About Our Practices, Not Our Respondents
A Culture of Controlled Sharing
Archiving Our Transcripts
Writing, Dissemination, and Future Access
Chapter Conclusion: Shifting the Transparency Debate
References

Dos and Don’ts in the Authoritarian Field

Evolving friendships and shifting ethical dilemmas: Fieldworkers’ experiences in a short term community based study in Kenya (Papers: Dorcas M. Kamuya, et al | 2013)0

Posted by Admin in on April 29, 2018
 

Abstract

This open access paper is a great read for researchers planning, or research ethics reviewers considering, projects that will involve local field workers.

Fieldworkers (FWs) are community members employed by research teams to support access to participants, address language barriers, and advise on culturally appropriate research conduct. The critical role that FWs play in studies, and the range of practical and ethical dilemmas associated with their involvement, is increasingly recognised. In this paper, we draw on qualitative observation and interview data collected alongside a six month basic science study which involved a team of FWs regularly visiting 47 participating households in their homes. The qualitative study documented how relationships between field workers and research participants were initiated, developed and evolved over the course of the study, the shifting dilemmas FWs faced and how they handled them. Even in this one case study, we see how the complex and evolving relationships between fieldworkers and study participants had important implications for consent processes, access to benefits and mutual understanding and trust. While the precise issues that FWs face are likely to depend on the type of research and the context in which that research is being conducted, we argue that appropriate support for field workers is a key requirement to strengthen ethical research practice and for the long term sustainability of research programmes.

Kamuya, D., Theobald, S.J., Munywoki, P.K., Koech, D., Geissler, W.P. and Molyneux, S.C. (2013) Evolving friendships and shifting ethical dilemmas: Fieldworkers’ experiences in a short term community based study in Kenya. Developing World Bioethics 13(1): 1-9.
Publisher (Open Access): https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/dewb.12009

Cambridge University rejected Facebook study over ‘deceptive’ privacy standards – The Guardian (Matthew Weaver | April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on April 25, 2018
 

Exclusive: panel told researcher Aleksandr Kogan that Facebook’s approach fell ‘far below ethical expectations’

A Cambridge University ethics panel rejected research by the academic at the centre of the Facebook data harvesting scandal over the social network’s “deceptive” approach to its users privacy, newly released documents reveal.

Perhaps, like us, you’ve been wondering what happened with the research ethics review of the initial data collection by Kogan (who is a researcher based at a UK university). That rumination may have deepened given Mark Zuckerberg’s reported testimony to the US Congress committee. But this latest revelation turns the story in a surprising direction. The work was in fact denied ethics approval by the Cambridge research ethics committee!

A 2015 proposal by Aleksandr Kogan, a member of the university’s psychology department, involved the personal data from 250,000 Facebook users and their 54 million friends that he had already gleaned via a personality quiz app in a commercial project funded by SCL, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica.

Separately, Kogan proposed an academic investigation on how Facebook likes are linked to “personality traits, socioeconomic status and physical environments”, according to an ethics application about the project released to the Guardian in response to a freedom of information request.
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The documents shed new light on suggestions from the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, that the university’s controls on research did not meet Facebook’s own standards. In testimony to the US Congress earlier this month, Zuckerberg said he was concerned over Cambridge’s approach, telling a hearing: “What we do need to understand is whether there is something bad going on at Cambridge University overall, that will require a stronger action from us.”
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Read the rest of this news story

A real-life Lord of the Flies: the troubling legacy of the Robbers Cave experiment – The Guardian (David Shariatmadari | April 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on April 17, 2018
 

In the early 1950s, the psychologist Muzafer Sherif brought together a group of boys at a US summer camp – and tried to make them fight each other. Does his work teach us anything about our age of resurgent tribalism?
……Read an extract from The Lost Boys

July 1953: late one evening in the woods outside Middle Grove, New York state, three men are having a furious argument. One of them, drunk, draws back his fist, ready to smash it into his opponent’s face. Seeing what is about to happen, the third grabs a block of wood from a nearby pile. “Dr Sherif! If you do it, I’m gonna hit you,” he shouts.

A useful example of the degree to which such work not only fails modern ethical standards, its results were cherry-picked and stage managed. We note again our caution about using such cases to justify current human research ethics/research integrity arrangements. Also see James Kehoe recent post.

The man with the raised fist isn’t just anybody. He is one of the world’s foremost social psychologists, Muzafer Sherif. The two others are his research assistants. Sherif is angry because the experiment he has spent months preparing for has just fallen apart.
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Born in the summer of 1905 and raised in İzmir province, Turkey, during the dying days of the Ottoman empire, Sherif won a place at Harvard to study psychology. But he found himself frustrated by the narrowness of the discipline, which mainly involved tedious observation of lab rats. He was drawn instead to the emerging field of social psychology, which looks at the way human behaviour is influenced by others. In particular, he became obsessed by group dynamics: how individuals band together to form cohesive units and how these units can find themselves at each other’s throats.
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Read the rest of this discussion piece

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