The Importance of Ethical Appraisal in Social Science Research: Reviewing a Faculty of Humanities’ Research Ethics Committee
- Katinka De Wet
- … show all 1 hide
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
Research Ethics Committees (RECs) or Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) are rapidly becoming indispensable mechanisms in the overall workings of university institutions. In fact, the ethical dimension is an important aspect of research governance processes present in institutions of higher learning. However, it is often deemed that research in the social sciences do not require ethical appraisal or clearance, because of the alleged absence of harm in conducting such research. This is an erroneous and dangerous assumption given that research in social sciences poses various and complex dilemmas related to ethics. The article aims to gauge the importance of ethical appraisal at a particular institution of higher learning’s Faculty of Humanities. This is done by scrutinising its defunct REC, and the views that Heads of Departments of the Faculty have of ethics in research and the need for ethical appraisal by this REC. Finally, some suggestions are made to proceed to review and restructure the current REC with the ultimate objective to make it functional again. It was found that the development and discussion around ethics in research and ethical appraisal are part of a much needed thrust to sensitise the entire Faculty and the institution on the widespread beneficial repercussions of ethical awareness in research and beyond.
- Benatar, S. R. (2002). Reflections and recommendations on research ethics in developing countries. Social Science and Medicine, 54, 1131–1141. CrossRef
- Burgess, M. (2007). Proposing modesty for informed consent. Social Science and Medicine, 65, 2284–2295. CrossRef
- Caplan, A. (2001). Research ban at Hopkins a sign of ethical crisis. http://www.med.jhu.edu/bioethics_institutute/, accessed 14 August 2009.
- Gunsalus, C. K., Bruner, E. M., Burbules, N. C., et al. (2006). Mission Creep in the IRB World. Science, 312, 1441. CrossRef
- Hedgecoe, A. (2008). Research Ethics Review and the Sociological Research Relationship. Sociology, 42(5), 873–886. CrossRef
- Hyder, A. A., Dawson, L., Abdulgafoor, B. M., & Lavery, J. V. (2009). Moving from research ethics review to research ethics systems in low-income and middle-income countries. The Lancet, 373, 862–865. CrossRef
- Jacobson, N., Gewurtz, R., & Haydon, E. (2007). Ethical Review of Interpretive Research: Problems and Solutions. IRB: Ethics & Human Research, 29(5), 1–8.
- Jansen, J. (2009). Knowledge in the Blood. Confronting Race and the Apartheid Past. California/Cape Town: Stanford University Press/ UCT Press.
- Kim, S., Ubel, P., & De Vries, R. (2009). Pruning the regulatory tree. Nature, 457, 534–535. CrossRef
- Lederman, R. (2007). Comparative ‘Research’; A Modest Proposal concerning the Object of Ethics Regulation. PoLAR (Political and Legal Anthropology Review), 30(2), 305–327. CrossRef
- Marshall, P., & Koenig, B. (2004). Accounting for culture in a globalized bioethics. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 32, 252–266. CrossRef
- McNeill, P., & Pfeffer, N. (2001). Learning from Unethical Research. In L. Doyal & S. Tobias (Eds.), Informed Consent in Medical Research (pp. 29–36). London: BMJ Books.
- Murphy, E., & Dingwall, R. (2007). Informed Consent, anticipatory regulation and ethnographic practice. Social Science and Medicine, 65, 2223–2234. CrossRef
- Rabinow, P. (Ed.). (1994). Michel Foucault. Ethics. Essential Works of Foucault 1954–1984, Volume I. London: Penguin Books.
- Spiegel, A. (2005). From exposé to care: Preliminary thoughts about shifting the ethical concerns of South African social anthropology. Anthropology Southern Africa, 28(3&4), 133–141.
- Wright, L. S. (2006). A Research Prospectus for the Humanities. In Shifting boundaries of knowledge: A view on Social Sciences, Law and Humanities in South Africa (pp. 65–78), Pietermaritzburg: UKZN Press.
- The Importance of Ethical Appraisal in Social Science Research: Reviewing a Faculty of Humanities’ Research Ethics Committee
Journal of Academic Ethics
Volume 8, Issue 4 , pp 301-314
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Research ethics committee
- Faculty of humanities
- Social science
- Ethical appraisal
- Katinka De Wet (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Centre for Health Systems Research and Development, University of the Free State, I.B. 39, P.O. Box 339, Bloemfontein, 9301, South Africa