Laura Camfield, Richard Palmer-Jones
Sage Publications, October 2013
The past decade has seen an increasing emphasis on ethical procedures for international development research, drawing heavily on medical models focused on the protection of subjects (for example, informants, vulnerable groups or those in conflict/post-disaster situations. Despite this, other dimensions of research ethics seem to us to be relatively neglected, namely, obligations to society, funders and employers and peers (development practitioners, policymakers and researchers). These obligations include doing non-trivial, beneficent and high-quality research. As Iphofen (2009) argues, ‘all research contains harm, since it is, to varying degrees, intrusive upon the lives of others. But that intrusion can and should be justified in terms of the benefits accruing – to individuals, communities and/or societies’. Balancing benefits and harm requires an attention to process, that is, conducting ethical and well governed research; maintaining and sharing accounts of research practices that affect the conclusions that can be drawn from the data and the uses to which they can be put; managing moral obligations to and the expectations of different stakeholders; and producing research outputs that are useful and properly disseminated.
Volume: 13
Issue: 4
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