ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)
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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Auditing ethics committees (Papers: Gillian Cowlishaw 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on March 10, 2016

Excerpt: The growth in bureaucratic oversight of research has caused growing disquiet internationally. A critical literature from the UK, the USA and elsewhere details the origins and negative impact of processes that often conflict with fundamental principles of social science research. Ethics committees’ concerns are based on notions of protecting individuals, especially the researched, from harm. But research into social bodies raises quite different ethical considerations (Simpson 2011).

Let us be clear: university ethics committees were not set up to counter bad research practices (Badiou 2001). Rather, they have flourished in the wake of the increasing scale and pervasiveness of ‘audit culture’ where the ‘twinned precepts of economic efficiency and good practice are being pursued’ (Strathern 2000: xv). Rather than achieving either aim, the rapid expansion of the power and reach of Australian HRECs exemplifies the way audit culture ‘beckon[s] a new form of coercive and authoritarian governmentality’ (Shore and Wright 1999: 557). To protect original, critical, engaged ethnographic research we need to establish the inappropriateness of these committees, by showing the way their practices contradict the principles of good ethnographic research.2 Strathern’s responses of ‘anxiety and small resistances’ to this ‘culture in the making’ are ineffective (Strathern 2000: xiv).

Cowlishaw G (2014) Auditing ethics committees. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 25 (3): 377–379

Also see: A new protection policy? (2013) Free access

A national survey of experiences with ethics review (Papers: Lisa Wynn et al 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on March 8, 2016

Abstract: In 1985 the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) made its grants for medical research conditional on the receiving institution submitting all human research, whether or not medical and whether or not funded by the NHMRC, for ethics review (NHMRC 2007). However, this NHMRC-induced extension of ethics review to non-medical projects retained the established conceptualisation of research as health and clinical. Over the next two decades, institutions expanded the jurisdiction of their ethics review committees to include methods like ethnography and oral history.

Wynn, L. L., Israel, M., Thomson, C., White, K. L. & Carey-White, L. (2014). A national survey of experiences with ethics review. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 25 (3), 375-377.

Ethics review regimes and Australian anthropology (Papers: Lisa Wynn 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on March 7, 2016

Excerpt: In 1977, an officer of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) testified that institutional ethics review was ‘inappropriate for ethnographic research’ and argued that ‘the application of the medical model tends to stultify and discourage ethnographic research. . .at no savings in damage to people’ (Wynn 2011: 94).

By 2004, the organization had a radically different position, stating that the process of cultivating ‘a strong foundation for the ethical conduct of research with human populations. . . should actively involve the researcher and the IRB [institutional review boards, i.e. ethics committees], the researcher and participants, and finally the IRB, the researcher and stakeholders’ (AAA 2004).

This historical shift in the AAA’s stance parallels the history of ethics review bureaucracies, which had their origin in clinical research and gradually expanded to encompass other disciplines over the past three decades. As the ethics review regime expanded and swallowed up new disciplines and methodologies, these disciplines were incorporated into new audit structures, and in turn incorporated them into their disciplinary practices.

Wynn L (2014) Ethics review regimes and Australian anthropology. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 25 (3): 373–375

Research ethics in emerging forms of online learning: Issues arising from a hypothetical study on a MOOC (Papers: Antonella Esposito 2012)0

Posted by Admin in on March 6, 2016

Abstract: This paper is concerned with how research ethics is evolving along with emerging online research methods and settings. In particular, it focuses on ethics issues implied in a hypothetical virtual ethnography study aiming to gain insights on participants experience in an emergent context of networked learning, namely a MOOC … Massive Online Open Course. A MOOC is a popular type of online open course, that provides free content and expertise to anyone in the world who wishes to enroll. The p urposes of this article are to briefly outline recent debates on online research ethics approaches and then to explore competing views on ethical decision‑making when researching in a globalized, online and open learning setting. Considering the challenge s of this new elearning inquiry context, issues as the underlying research ethics models, the roles of researcher and participants and the integrity of the research process are discussed in their interplay with the evolving ethos of the ethnographical met hodology being adopted to investigate participants views. Elements drawn from a hypothetical design of a qualitative study are here utilized to identify an empirical instance that shapes and is being shaped by research ethics decisions. The study aims to answer the following question: what are the affordances (opportunities and challenges) of online open courses as they emerge from the participants perspectives? This paper considers the potential operationalization of the above research question and d iscusses both theoretical and methodological issues arising from applying research ethics to this specific case of Internet inquiry. In this sense, ethical approaches in online research contexts as well as main ethical decisions are discussed and justifie d, envisioning a submission to an institutional ethics review board before undertaking the ethnographical study. Topics such as privacy concerns in a public online setting, choice between overt and covert research, researcher as observer or participant, n arrow or loosely defined application of the informed consent and anonymity are outlined, presenting a range of different options. This article intends to show that ethical decisions are an iterative procedure and an integral part of the research design pr ocess. Moreover, it endorses the opportunity to produce localized and contextualized ethical decision‑making. To this end, it takes into account the guidance available (research ethics literature; narratives of ethics procedures applied to empirical case s); the ethics debates within the ethnographical tradition and the nature of the setting being researched (the specific format of the networked learning instance being examined). The discussion here proposed orientates ethical decision‑making towards a n overt and participant research approach, an informed consent intended as a public notice and a consideration of participants both as authors in the online setting and as human subjects embedding unexpected privacy sensitiveness. However, such decision s are considered as many starting points to build a research ethics protocol intended to a degree as a work in progress, in a problem‑solving approach guided by the practical wisdom of participants emerging over time.rch has been fertile in producing stud ies on pedagogical change and innovation through technology in Higher Education Institutions, namely the integration of the social media in pedagogical practice. However, there is a lack of studies on the integration of the social media in the particular field of lectures. In this context, commonly practiced, the teacher faces a wide audience and feels the need to activate mechanisms of direct instruction, for reasons of economy of time and because it is the most dominant pedagogical model. As a result th ere is a communication paradigm 1.0 (one‑way communication, one‑to‑many, low or non‑existent interaction). In this study, exploratory and quantitative in nature, an approach to the thematic of the exploration of the social media in order to upgrade the cognitive communication from 1.0 to 2.0 (many‑to‑many, interaction between all the participants) in lectures was made. On the approach to the problem, we explored a PowerPoint presentation with the integration of the micro blogging tool Twitter, as a basis for addressing the characteristics of cognitive communication 2.0. For data collection a questionnaire was designed, based on literature, and intended to evaluate several dimensions of the resource used, namely: i) pedagogical issues, ii) technologi cal aspects, iii) cognitive learning; iv) interactions in the classroom; v) positive behavior in the classroom and vi) negative behaviour in the classroom. The results indicate that students recognize the potential of this tool in the dimensions asses sed. Twitter integration in PowerPoint allowed the teacher and the students to read each others views and each had the opportunity to contribute to the debate. It also allowed the release of multiple choice questions to the audience, with answers via Twi tter and projection of results via PowerPoint. This way, a true cognitive communication 2.0 took place.

Descriptors: Ethics, Ethnography, Electronic Learning, Online Courses, Research Design, Research Methodology, Problem Solving, Expertise, Integrity, Open Education, Internet

Esposito A (2012) Research ethics in emerging forms of online learning: Issues arising from a hypothetical study on a MOOC. Electronic Journal of e-Learning 10(03).