Studying social actors: Some thoughts on ethics.

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We live in a country, in which ethical review boards have stringent expectations of what they believe ethical research is. While we certainly have a critical stance towards review boards’ notions of ethics, as researchers, we are firmly grounded in research ethics. Applying for, and receiving, ethical approval for research projects can be a challenging and drawn out process in any instance. Yet, this can be multiplied many times when researchers aim to study and video tape naturally occurring interactions, and/or want to work with children, youth, and populations that ethics boards consider vulnerable. Some of these considerations we agree with, such as young children; and some of these we disagree with, such as pregnant women. Notions of vulnerability and informed consent are discussed throughout this chapter. In the worst-case scenario, researchers are put off from conducting research that involves applying for ethics approval. But, in the best-case scenario, the process of applying for ethics approval helps the researchers design a better research project, by considering issues from a participant perspectives. Since we cannot evade ethical approval for our studies in New Zealand, we tend to take this time to work through true ethical dilemmas that could arise in the study that we are proposing. This article outlines some of our thinking regarding a new project that we are embarking on, where we will investigate video conferencing between family members. For the families, we are looking at a young family with at least one Baby or very young child and their interaction with other family members via video conferencing.

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... In order to enact these principles participants were treated as co-researchers. Pirini, Norris, Geenen & Matelau (2014) explain the benefits of treating participants in this way. ...
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Conference Paper
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