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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) Code of ethics: Critical reflections on research ethics in situations of forced migration0

Posted by Admin in on August 18, 2019

Research with people in situations of forced migration poses particular ethical challenges because of unequal power relations, legal precariousness, extreme poverty, violence, the criminalization of migration, politicized research contexts, the policy relevance of our research and/or dependence on government and non-governmental services and funding. However, Research Ethics Boards (REBs) are not always aware of these particular ethical issues; some countries and institutions do not have REBs; and some kinds of research are not subject to REB approval. In this context of heightened risks of research, and uneven institutional accountability for research ethics, the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) hereby proposes this code of ethics for research with people in situations of forced migration. Similarly to how Indigenous research methodologies incorporate a broad, engaged and critical notion of ethics that recognizes power differentiations and the agency of the participants within exploitive research histories, this document sets forth principles that are starting points for respectful research.1 It is intended to reflect the broad diversity of our membership, including those involved in gathering information – whether in an academic or community setting – as well as those who are asked to take part in research. That being said, we acknowledge that this is not a comprehensive nor exhaustive document, but rather a starting point for active, critical engagement with ethical issues.

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Debriefing for ego threat may require more than we thought – Psychology & More (Dana C. Leighton, Ph.D. | July 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on July 7, 2019

When social psychologists manipulate a participant’s attitudes or beliefs, we have an ethical obligation to undo that manipulation. I explain it to my students as “putting the participant back the way we found them.” We frequently use a debriefing procedure, in the form of a written and/or (as in the case of my lab) verbal notice something to the effect of “yuk yuk, gosh, ya know what? we were just kidding. the thing you (read/did) was fake, we made it up, and it doesn’t mean anything.” Here is an example from the verbal debriefing script I used in a study several years ago that presented participants with a fake newspaper article about vandalism by University of Texas students.

I want to thank you for your participation here today and for your contribution to this project. We really appreciate your help with this work. Let me tell you a little bit about what we are trying to study.

First, we want to assure you that the incident you read about never happened on the campus. We created a fake newspaper article about it in order to better understand how people respond to these kinds of situations. To our knowledge, no University of Texas students have ever been involved in such an incident.

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The full article is behind a paywall, but here’s the reference:
Miketta, S., & Friese, M. (2019). Debriefed but still troubled? About the (in)effectiveness of postexperimental debriefings after ego threat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication.

Research Ethics Governance – An African Perspective (Chapter: Marelize I. Schoeman | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on June 2, 2019

Governance structures in research are generally a retrospective response to unethical research practices. Similar to the international research landscape Africa has not been immune to human research abuses inclusive of unethical experimentation and clinical trials. An increase in research was noted in Africa this past decade in response to serious psychosocial and health-related challenges the continent faced. This increase in research has not necessarily brought about improvements in the governance and oversight of human research practices. In contrast, it increased the risk of exploitative research funded by resource-rich countries who conducted studies in Africa that would be difficult to conduct in countries with more established and strict research regulatory frameworks.

Even though the impact colonialism and the internationalisation of research had on ethics governance is recognised, African scholars is of the opinion that the debate about research ethics governance largely represents the opinions of scholars from Euro-western countries, with little contribution being made by African scholars. Against this background, the chapter presents an Afrocentric viewpoint of research ethics governance. In addition, Westernised and African research ethics practices and oversight structures were compared to identify challenges and guidelines. The research ethics governance landscape is to a large extent still an uncharted landscape creating the opportunity to develop a research ethics governance framework that acknowledges the unique humanistic morality and normative set of social rules and principles that guide the conduct of people in African societies. The chapter aims to make a significant contribution by stimulate critical discourse about the relevance of ethical principles and governance structures currently used in Africa.

Research ethics governance, Research ethics committees, Biomedical research, Social science research 

Schoeman M.I. (2019) Research Ethics Governance – An African Perspective. In: Nortjé N., Visagie R., Wessels J. (eds) Social Science Research Ethics in Africa. Research Ethics Forum, vol 7. Springer, Cham

Thinking about ethics in Burma research (Papers: Lisa Brooten & Rosalie Metro | 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on May 28, 2019

Burma’s colonial past, its years under military dictatorship, its ongoing ethnic and religious conflicts, and the current shifts in the political landscape all present unique challenges for researchers seeking to behave ethically with their informants, their institutions, each other, and the public sphere. The recent upsurge of interest in Burma presents an opportunity for scholars who study the country to reflect on the ethical dilemmas they have confronted and to articulate how they have addressed them. It is our hope that this effort can help those who specialize in Burma to consider the norms and divergences that exist within our inter-disciplinary scholarly community, and can aid those new to Burma Studies in navigating their research in a more informed manner. In light of the need for such a conversation, The Journal of Burma Studies agreed to publish this special issue.

For some human research designs, (sub)disciplines and methodologies matter.  Contextual factors, privacy and risk, as well as potential vulnerabilities can be entirely different and a peril for unprepared.   This thought-provoking paper is a discussion about ethical research in  Burma. We have included links to four other items about research in dangerous contexts.

The inspiration for this issue came from a panel discussion Rose organized at the 2012 Burma Studies Conference in DeKalb, Illinois, USA. Elliott Prasse-Freeman and Patrick McCormick both presented earlier versions of the essays included here, and Rose described her difficulties with using consent forms in her ethnographic research with teachers on the Thai-Burma border (Metro 2014). The audience members, who represented a broad cross-section of the field, raised a number of important issues that bear further exploration, and several tensions emerged that are echoed in these pages. In particular, a debate on the nature of objectivity between a senior and a mid-career scholar, both anthropologists, pointed to a generational paradigm shift toward an engagement with [End Page 1] the inevitably political nature of Burma Studies. Another exchange, between McCormick, a US researcher based in Burma, and a Burmese person based in the US, highlighted what McCormick calls the “hierarchies of interpretation” in which the academic credentials and positionality of local and international scholars privilege some epistemologies over others. Additionally, several scholars brought up concerns with the consequences of conducting and publishing their research, whether that meant jeopardizing local contacts or having their work appropriated to ends they did not support. These discussions were thought provoking, despite the brevity, and when we found ourselves talking after the conference about the need for more discussion, we decided to continue the conversation in these pages

Brooten, L. and Metro, R., (2014). Thinking about ethics in Burma research. Journal of Burma Studies, 18(1), pp.1-22.