Who guards the guardians now? Ethical dilemmas in conducting school-based research

Year: 2003

Author: Gill, Judith

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Mindful of Foucault's maxim about everything being 'dangerous', this paper will identify some ethical issues associated with school-based research. Features of current ethical requirements are identified, with particular attention to the concept of 'informed consent'. In deconstructing this concept I propose that it calls for a deliberate sleight of hand on the part of University Ethics committees. My argument will be supported by reference to some important educational research which could not have been conducted under the current set of requirements. Evidence also is drawn from descriptions of studies which have undergone major modifications in the light of Ethics requirements and which are consequently unlikely to fulfil their original intent. The paper concludes with a call for educational research in general and the AARE in particular to develop a stance on the conduct of ethical research which does not compromise the integrity of the research nor pose any harm to the participants.