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ETHICS: How to Prepare a Strong Application

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Presentation on theme: "ETHICS: How to Prepare a Strong Application"— Presentation transcript:

1 ETHICS: How to Prepare a Strong Application Helen Gremillion (and Geoff Bridgman) Department of Social Practice Unitec Institute of Technology 6 May, 2014

2 Why conduct ethically-sound research?
Moral obligation Credibility Legal requirements

3 Why conduct ethically sound research?
With ethics approval: Secure legal position (researcher and Unitec indemnified) ACC and professional coverage Satisfaction of dissertation/thesis requirements Ability to publish

4 ‘Unethical’ examples “The Unfortunate Experiment”
(Cartwright, National Women’s Hospital, ). Delay in treatment of women diagnosed with cervical cancer or a pre-cancerous lesion. 1/3 developed invasive cancer, 8 died. Milgram (electric shock: Yale University, 1963)

5 Ethical considerations apply when...
Humans or animals used as subjects, i.e. with: questionnaires, interviews, focus groups clinical trials (medical intervention) some observational studies bodily tissues and fluids treatments or exercises applied genetic modification use of personal, non-public information using property/material which is culturally, historically or spiritually significant

6 Principles of ethically sound research
informed and voluntary consent doesn’t breach privacy physical and emotional harm minimisation cultural and social sensitivity limitation of deception respects intellectual and cultural property ownership avoids conflicts of interest adequate research design to meet objectives

7 Before Collecting Data....
PRIOR APPROVAL must be SOUGHT and GAINED before research can commence

8 Ethical Dilemmas BSocP students want to interview past or present marijuana smokers to find out what safe practices they typically use. A teacher wants to run a focus group with her students to explore the effectiveness of different teaching strategies A counsellor wants to use session transcripts (made for the purpose of supervision) in a project that evaluates the effectiveness of counselling A group of women researchers want to interview men about fathering A group of Pakeha researchers want to do research on Māori Health practices


10 General ethical issues:
Informed consent, and ability to withdraw involvement/data Power issues: e.g. teacher-student, doctor-patient, principal-teacher. Vulnerable subjects: e.g. children Anonymity and/or confidentiality ‘Lay’ language and well-written documents, particularly those distributed to public

11 Specific but common ethical issues
Cultural awareness Sample size (research design adequacy) Recruiting participants (bias/power issues) Sensitive questions: e.g. have you ever broken the law? Are you using drugs? What is your sexual orientation? Conflicts of interest (e.g. researcher benefits, or could be seen to benefit, from a particular outcome) Overseas research (e.g. researcher safety)

12 What’s included in an application
Correct and current application form Information sheet(s) (unless anonymous survey) Consent form(s) (unless anonymous survey) Questionnaire, interview schedule. If anonymous survey, basic information about the purpose of the study and anonymity at start Institutional permission if relevant Any other supporting documentation

13 Informed and Voluntary Consent
Information sheet and consent form: in the participants’ language. No inducements that will influence the voluntary nature of participation Consideration of who will recruit and who will interview (e.g.)

14 Information Sheets - 1 what the research is about
what they are being asked to do, including time commitments and venue info what the likely consequences are for them should they participate that there are no disadvantages/ penalties/adverse consequences to not participating or withdrawing from the research (and timeframe for withdrawal)

15 Information Sheets -2 any special conditions of the research that might affect their participation – e.g. that there will be audio-taping or video-taping. Include info about transcription processes How participants will be informed of the results of the research how confidentiality of information will be preserved a schedule for the destruction of personal identifying information

16 Information Sheets - 3 The names of the researchers who will actually make direct contact with the participants the supervisor for the project if relevant the host institution for the research a means (for example, a telephone number) by which participants are able to be in touch with the researchers, the supervisor and the chair of the Ethics Committee to ask further questions etc, and the UNITEC approval statement

17 Minimisation of harm Who can be harmed?
What kind of harm could be done by our research projects? What measures can we take to minimise harm? sensitive topics such as sexual practices, drug taking, or illegal activities?

18 Harm or Risks of Harm Physical Harm. It is often the case that one must do some harm in order to bring about a greater good - sports research Psychosocial Harm. By psychosocial harm is meant everything from the invasion of privacy and the diminution of social reputation, to the creation of enduring psychological fears and confusions. Risk of Harm. No actual harm of any sort to participants anticipated, but the risk of some harm.

19 Cultural and social sensitivity
What defines culture? What cultural ethical issues are present in a given research project? What does an ethical approach to research seek to achieve with respect to culture?

20 Working with the framework of the Treaty


22 UREC ethical guidelines re. Māori
The Treaty of Waitangi Tino rangatiratanga (sovereignty) over Māori resources; a right to a fair share of society’s benefits. Partnership, protection, participation. Informed consent – by individuals and organisations (whanau, hapu or iwi ) Genuine consultation – before, during, after Defining, designing, resolving potentially difficult issues. Maximising the benefits (including Māori researcher development). Result dissemination/ownership of reports

23 Cultural Considerations
Involvement of particular ethnic/social groups (other than Māori)? If specific cultural issues could surface: Does the researcher speak the language? Translation issues: info sheet, consent form, etc. Consultation: researcher’s ‘insider’ status usually not sufficient Dissemination of findings and any ongoing involvement with those consulted Example of gender sensitivity

24 Research design adequacy
Are the aims and objectives clear, important, and consistently reflected? Does the value, and rigour, of the project justify participants’ efforts and time? Will the chosen methodology (including sampling) allow the necessary data to be collected? Will the planned analysis give answers to the question asked?

25 Avoidance of conflict of interest
Are there are conflict of interest issues involving money, power, status or role? Question about any existing relationships between researcher and potential participants is key here. What do we need to put in place to prevent, or minimise (and justify) any conflicts of interest?


27 Limitation of deception
Forms of deception: are they justified? E.g.: Concealing your hypothesis or parts of it Not telling participants what treatment they are on

28 Respect for intellectual and cultural property ownership.
Acknowledgement of sources. Who owns the information you collect?

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