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Accepted Paper:

Towards and innovative model for shifting power in research ethics: the ECID case study  

Authors:

Cathy Bollaert (Christian Aid)
Talatu Aliyu
Kas Sempere (The Open University)

Paper short abstract:

Using the ECID programme as a case study, this paper engages critically with the challenges concerning ethical practice in international development research and practice. It explores some of the challenges posed by western ethical norms and offers an innovative model for shifting power in ethics.

Paper long abstract:

This paper engages critically with the challenges concerning ethical practice in international development research and practice and how different institutional and local ethical priorities can be managed. This is explored using the Evidence and Collaboration for Inclusive Development (ECID) programme as a case study. ECID is a four-year programme, funded by the UK Government through UK Aid Connect, delivered through a consortium of nine partners led by Christian Aid, and implemented by in-country partner organisations in Myanmar, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Doing research ethically in international development goes beyond standards within academic research; it requires engaging with additional areas of expertise including risk management, safeguarding and protection, responsible data management, gender equality and social inclusion and conflict sensitivity among others. Recognising each of these spheres of expertise remain quite siloed, the paper begins by introducing an integrated ethical framework for doing development research. Following on from this, the paper explores some of the challenges that western ethical norms pose in societies with different systems of meaning-making and ethical norms. This is illustrated using ethical dilemmas raised within the Nigerian country programme. The paper concludes by offering an innovative model for shifting power in research that was piloted within the programme. This requires thinking about how ethics in development research and practice can be reviewed in organisations which typically do not have their own Ethics Review Boards and in ways which does not reproduce western hegemony in relation to whose knowledge and ethics counts in research practice.

Panel P16b
Unsettling research ethics to promote progressive global social change II