Regan, Julie-Anne; Baldwin, Moyra A.; Peters, Lisa (University of Bedfordshire, 2012-10)
This paper explores the ethical issues identified by a research ethics committee (REC) over a three-year period. The REC is situated in a medium-sized univerity in the north west of England and deals exclusively with proposals for pedagogic research. The purpose of the research was to identify the nature and frequency of ethical concerns expressed by the REC, in order to improve guidance for future applicants. The most common concern was the lack, or inaccuracy, of the information provided to potential participants by which they were expected to make an informed decision about participation. Other concerns included the potential for bias, the lack of information provided to the REC, the provision for fair access by vulnerable groups and undue influence on voluntary particpation. The paper concludes that the potential risks of practitioners researching their own students are not given due consideration by many applicats. In particular the potential threats to valid informed consent are identified. Implications for improving the relationship between researchers and RECs are discussed, as is the guidance for applicants.
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