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Event 5: Three Day Course on Ethics in Participatory Research
Participatory Research provides a unique framework in which to conduct research since it is based upon notions of conducting research with and for research subjects. The imbalance of power relationships which occurs where research in conducted on or about research subjects, is therefore challenged. This workshop will explore in depth ethical issues as they relate to participatory approaches to research. The workshop will be convened by a member of the training team at Lancaster with session run by members of the team or research active experts on participatory research drawn from across the University. The first day of the event will be led by an invited speaker and consist of a full-day workshop that sets the scene for undertaking participatory research. This will be followed by four half-day workshops that address themes of particular relevance to participatory research. This workshop will be offered twice during the Initiative the first will be introductory in format and will run in December 2007. The second workshop in June 2009, will focus on more advanced aspects of undertaking participatory research. In keeping with theme of the event, all sessions will be participatory in their style of delivery.
Day 1: Exploring New Relationships between research and researched
Lincoln has argued that ‘the shift in relationship between researcher and researched ... is so pronounced as to make ‘researcher’ and ‘researched’ nearly archaic terminology ... a blurring of boundaries between the two ... ruptures the old hierarchy’ (Lincoln 2001:126). In this opening session, consideration will be given to exploring questions of what is meant by participatory research and what this means in terms of how ethical issues emerge within participatory approaches. Research participants who have been involved in participatory research projects will also contribute to this session.
a.m: Informed Consent within Participatory Research
This session will explore the ethical dynamics of emergent research protocols which are an intrinsic part of participatory research processes. The notion of ‘informed consent’ provides a fruitful way of exploring this dynamic since with emergent research processes, the boundaries between different stages of the research become blurred. Thus, at what point and to what degree is it possible for research participants to give their consent?
p.m. Participatory Research and Research ‘Outputs’
Traditional approaches to research usually characterise ‘research outputs’ as written accounts of the research process and its findings. The question of how research is presented within the public domain is an area, which has ethical dimensions. In participatory research, ‘outputs’ may be less clearly defined and more wide-reaching than traditional written outputs. The ethical aspects of this will be explored in this session.
a.m: Processes of Ethical Review and Participatory Research
Although it is often the case that the instigation and design of participatory research is carried out between various stakeholders, it is never-the-less the case that research studies may still require external ethical review. This session will explore the implications both for how ethical review of participatory research is carried out, and how participatory researchers can best equip their projects to face external ethical scrutiny.
p.m: Ethical Issues that have arisen in Participatory Research
This session will be comprised of various practitioners of participatory research where they discuss the ethical dimensions of their work. Participants will be invited to explore in detail accounts of ethical dilemmas that have occurred during the course of participatory research. An important aspect of this session will be to develop a safe working environment such that participants feel able to ‘tell it how it is’.
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