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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

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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Promises, Promises: Lessons in Research Ethics from the Belfast Project and ‘The Rape Tape’ Case (Papers: Kay Inckle 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on August 23, 2016

This paper draws on two social research projects which have made headline news in the Republic of Ireland since 2011: The Belfast Project which was conducted by ex-paramilitary researchers in Northern Ireland in conjunction with Boston College in the USA, alongside what the media dubbed as ‘The Rape Tape’ case involving a postgraduate student from Maynooth University in the Republic of Ireland. Considered together, these cases highlight contrasting approaches to ethics which have significant lessons for sociologists teaching and conducting ethical research. The cases illustrate how sociologists need to model nuanced yet robust approaches to ethics if we are to avoid causing harm to research participants and to produce students with solid ethical skills which they can utilise in a range of contexts. Such an approach combines ontological foundations with reflexive, context specific applications. The paper begins with an outline of the two cases based on documentary sources. The cases are then considered in the context ethical definitions and protocols from academic texts and professional sociological bodies across the three affected jurisdictions (UK, Ireland, USA) in order to reflect on the lessons and implications for sociologists in conducting and teaching ethical research.

Keywords: Research Ethics, Sensitive Research, the Belfast Project, the Rape Tape Case

Inckle K (2015) Promises, Promises: Lessons in Research Ethics from the Belfast Project and ‘The Rape Tape’ Case. Sociological Research Online, 20 (1), 6 DOI: 10.5153/sro.3570

An Alternative Ethics? Justice and Care as Guiding Principles for Qualitative Research (Papers: Martyn Hammersley and Anna Traianou 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on August 22, 2016

The dominant conception of social research ethics is centred on deontological and consequentialist principles. In place of this, some qualitative researchers have proposed a very different approach. This appeals to a range of commitments that transform the goal of research as well as framing how it is pursued. This new ethics demands a participatory form of inquiry, one in which the relationship between researchers and researched is equalized. In this paper we examine this alternative approach, focusing in particular on two of the principles that are central to it: justice and care. We argue that there are some significant defects and dangers associated with this new conception of research ethics.

Keywords: Research Ethics, Qualitative Research, Justice, Care, Participatory Inquiry

Hammersley M & Traianou A (2014) An Alternative Ethics? Justice and Care as Guiding Principles for Qualitative Research. Sociological Research Online, 19 (3), 24 DOI: 10.5153/sro.3466

Experts Call for Action to Combat Academic Corruption0

Posted by Admin in on August 19, 2016

Alarmed by the growing frequency of news reports about academic corruption, an international panel of experts is calling for “action on a broad front” to combat the problem, arguing that dishonest practices are “undermining the quality and credibility of higher education around the world”. And it’s happening “at a time when [higher education’s] importance as a driver of global development has never been higher”, says a report from the 14-member panel. The group has released its advisory statement as a step towards catalysing an international effort to fight the problem. The advisory statement was prepared by Sir John Daniel, a distinguished former president of the Commonwealth of Learning and former UNESCO assistant director-general for education, working with IIEP-UNESCO and CIQG. For the full story read the University World News.

Access the advisory statement here
Read the University World News report