14.0651 ethical research procedures

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Wed Feb 07 2001 - 02:44:08 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 651.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

       [1] From: Patricia Galloway <galloway@gslis.utexas.edu> (34)
             Subject: Re: 14.0646 ethical research procedures?

       [2] From: Charles Ess <cmess@drury.edu> (21)
             Subject: Re: 14.0646 ethical research procedures?

             Date: Wed, 07 Feb 2001 07:29:46 +0000
             From: Patricia Galloway <galloway@gslis.utexas.edu>
             Subject: Re: 14.0646 ethical research procedures?

    There are two issues here, both of which social science researchers and
    oral history specialists have been encountering and assimilating as part
    of normal research concerns for some time now. The first is the "human
    subjects" protocol, with which most schools (and most granting agencies)
    require compliance from any discipline making use of human beings as the
    objects of research (not only medical procedures but interviews as
    well): the object originally (in the wake of medical scandals of the
    1970s) was to protect research subjects from being lied to about their
    situation and from the release of compromising information given in the
    expectation of privacy. The second, which can also be construed in the
    context of human subjects protocols (as apparently here) but is more and
    more frequently being dealt with through contractual agreements, is the
    requirement that most schools' grant offices now have that projects deal
    according to university policies with intellectual property issues: the
    object is to deal legally with the intellectual property that research
    subjects may have in the information gathered from them (and that
    includes DNA as well as poems). These two legal concerns conflict in
    interesting ways, but both are designed to protect people being studied
    in some way from all too frequent abuses based upon knowledge
    differentials between the academics doing the studies and the people
    being studied, and to protect the university from the latter finding out
    and suing. You may think it sounds strange to ask the researcher to
    rephrase the proposal, but the purpose is that it should be
    understandable to those who will be studied, because they have to sign
    the agreement. It is an interesting exercise, even if you don't have to
    do it: would the people you are studying cooperate if they really knew
    what you would be doing, and they had the right not to? And how would
    they feel about providing you with the intellectual capital you need to
    publish, make tenure, etc., without ever seeing what you wrote about
    them or participating in any real capital that research result might
    yield, if they found out?
    Pat Galloway
    Graduate School of Library and Information Science
    University of Texas-Austin

             Date: Wed, 07 Feb 2001 07:30:44 +0000
             From: Charles Ess <cmess@drury.edu>
             Subject: Re: 14.0646 ethical research procedures?

    Charles and fellow/sister Humanists:
    I don't know about similar projects per se - but the strictures on guarding
    the confidentiality of the interviewees look to be right in line with the
    guidelines I am struggling to become familiar with as part of an ethics
    working committee organized by the Association of Internet Researchers,
    prompted in part by researchers' unhappy reactions to new guidelines
    proposed last year: see "Ethical and Legal Aspects of Human Subjects
    Research on the Internet," by Mark S. Frankel and Sanyin Siang, Scientific
    Freedom, Responsibility and Law Program, Directorate of Science and Policy
    Programs, American Association for the Advancement of Science, available

    Hope that helps.

    Charles Ess
    Chair, Philosophy and Religion Department
    Drury University
    900 N. Benton Ave. Voice: 417-873-7230
    Springfield, MO 65802 USA FAX: 417-873-7435
    Home page: http://www.drury.edu/Departments/phil-relg/ess.html
    Co-chair, CATaC 2000: http://www.it.murdoch.edu.au/~sudweeks/catac00/
    "Egos appear by setting themselves apart from other egos. Persons appear by
    entering into relation to other persons." -- Martin Buber, _I and Thou_

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