SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Wiles, R., Charles, V., Crow, G., & Heath, S. Researching researchers: Lessons for research ethics. Qualitative Research6, 283–299.

Abstract: There is widespread debate about ethical practice in social research with most social researchers arguing that situational relativist approaches are appropriate for resolving the ethical issues that emerge. In this article, we draw on research conducted on an ESRC-funded study of informed consent in social research to explore the ethical issues that are raised when conducting research with one’s peers. The study involved conducting focus groups and telephone interviews with academic and non-academic researchers. The ethical issues emerging from the study related to consent, data ownership and the management of confidentiality and anonymity. Participants’ responses to these issues and the ways that we managed them are discussed. We conclude by exploring the implications of this study for research more generally and argue that the increased regulation of research needs to enable researchers to attend reflexively to the social context in which consent takes place.

Journal Article 2: Howe, K. R., & Dougherty, K. C. Ethics, institutional review boards, and the changing face of educational research. Educational Researcher22, 16–21.

Abstract: Educational research has enjoyed special exemptions from formal ethical oversight of research on human subjects since the original mandate from the federal government that such oversight must occur. Although interpreting these exemptions has always been a potential source of controversy and conflict for university Institutional Review Boards, the burgeoning use of qualitative methods has further complicated matters. This article discusses the original rationale for special exemptions for educational research and then examines which varieties of qualitative educational research are consistent with it and which varieties are not. The article also examines the formal ethical oversight of student research practica, an issue also complicated by the advent of qualitative methods. Specific policies are offered both for determining which varieties of qualitative research should qualify for the special educational exemptions and for formally overseeing student research practica.

Journal Article 3: Hemmings, A. (2006). Great ethical divides: Bridging the gap between institutional review boards and researchers. Educational Researcher35, 12–18.

Abstract: This article addresses the difficulties that educational ethnographers and qualitative researchers have experienced with what appear to be great ethical divides between their research approaches and the approval processes of institutional review boards. The author begins with a brief discussion of ethical issues involving human subjects in education research, then explains the divides as largely a consequence of different ethical frameworks and orientations toward applications of the basic ethical principles of respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. She also discusses the challenges of bureaucratic arrangements established to ensure federal compliance. She concludes with strategies for bridging the divides, with emphasis on the importance of representation, communication, education, and practical academic acumen.