Access or egress? Questioning the "ethics" of ethics committee review for an ethnographic doctoral research study in a childbirth setting

Elizabeth Newnham, Jan Pincombe, Lois Mckellar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In this article, we discuss the principal difficulties in gaining ethics approval for an ethnographic midwifery doctoral research project in a hospital setting in South Australia. The research focus is on the various personal, social, institutional and cultural influences on women making a choice about whether or not to use epidural analgesia in labour. The obstacles encountered in gaining human research ethics committee (HREC) approval are discussed within the wider context of the benefits of ethnography as a research methodology, as well as the potential consequences to ethnography when assessed by quantitative research standards. By sharing our experience, we add to the current literature debating the "ethics" of ethics committee review in qualitative research approval. Engaging with the academic debate surrounding "ethics creep" - The increasing jurisdiction of ethics committees over research design - we consider the possibility of moving beyond principle-based ethics towards an ethical theory that more fully addresses the complexities of ethnographic research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-136
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Doctoral Studies
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Doctoral studies
  • Ethnography
  • Midwifery
  • Qualitative research
  • Research ethics

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