SAGE Journal Articles

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Research That Matters: Lacey, John H., Tara Kelley-Baker, Robert B. Voas, Eduardo Romano, C. Debra Furr-Holden, Pedro Torres, and Amy Berning. 2011. "Alcohol- and Drug-Involved Driving in the United States: Methodology for the 2007 National Roadside Survey." Evaluation Review 35:319-353.

Journal Article 1: Campbell-Page, R. M. and Shaw-Ridley, M. (2013). Managing ethical dilemmas in community-based participatory research with vulnerable populationsHealth Promotion Practice, 14, 485–490.

Abstract: This article describes two ethical dilemmas encountered by our research team during a project working with undocumented immigrants in Toronto, Canada. This article aims to be transparent about the problems the research team faced, the processes by which we sought to understand these problems, how solutions were found, and how the ethical dilemmas were resolved. Undocumented immigrants are a vulnerable community of individuals residing in a country without legal citizenship, immigration, or refugee status. There are more than half a million undocumented immigrants in Canada. Through an academic–community partnership, a study was conducted to understand the experiences of undocumented immigrants seeking health care in Toronto. The lessons outlined in this article may assist others in overcoming challenges and ethical dilemmas encountered while doing research with vulnerable communities.

Journal Article 2: Snee, H. (2013) Making ethical decisions in an online context: Reflections on using blogs to explore narratives of experienceMethodological Innovations Online8(2), 52–67.

Abstract: Internet research methods can present some challenging ethical dilemmas. Although they are subject to the same guiding principles as ‘offline’ research, it can be difficult to apply these online given the blurring of boundaries presented by digitally-mediated environments. This paper considers a study that utilised personal blogs as primary data to outline two common ethical tensions in internet research: whether online communications can be considered public or private, and whether the people who produce them can be considered subjects or authors. The study examined the narratives of young people who took gap years overseas as represented in their travel blogs. While the blogs were technically public, they contained personal information, and individual perceptions or expectations of privacy can be different. The paper also explores how to establish if human subjects are involved in internet research, including the difficulties of protecting identity and the case for recognising authorship when appropriate. In line with contemporary scholarship on internet research ethics, this paper highlights the need for a contextual approach that recognises the specificities of the communications studied, the methods employed to generate and analyse data, and how the research is disseminated. The decisions made in the gap year study are critically evaluated, and alternative options presented, including a focus on ensuring that data are not linked to individuals without consent. The article aims to contribute to dialogue and debate in online research ethics through offering some reflections on the course of action taken.

Journal Article 3: Mapedzahama, V. & Dune, T. (2017). A clash of paradigms? Ethnography and ethics approval. SAGE Open, January-March 2017, 1–8. doi: 10.1177/2158244017697167

Abstract: Obtaining ethics approval from university ethics committees is an important part of the research process in Australia and internationally. However, for researchers engaging in ethnographic work, obtaining ethics approval can (re)present significant hurdles to overcome in planning and facilitating a research project. In this article, we discuss potential challenges of reconciling the differences between institutional ethical review standards and the reality of ethnographic research. To do so, we reflect on our own experiences seeking ethics approval for a study on racialized visibility in rural nursing and another on the experiences of gender and sexuality diverse older women. We focus on two particular queries from ethics committees that reaffirm, for us, the incompatibility of biomedically informed ethics guidelines for naturalistic, ethnographic research. The article draws on four major points of contention regarding ethical approval processes designed for biomedical research and applied to social research. With respect to social research, these are (a) the associated risks, (b) predictive informed consent, (c) the power held by social researchers, and (d) biomedical emphasis on distance and universalism within the research relationship. This article suggests a reformulation of ethics guidelines and structures such that ethics committees are better able to engage with ethnographic (and other social) research. Although these debates and structural changes may not be relevant for all social or ethnographic research, exploring these ethical difficulties is paramount to redefining expectations and the positivist standards upon which social research is often measured.