Ethics approval for a study to proceed is also concerned with safeguarding researchers. At its most basic, this relates to personal safety, especially if the researcher is conducting research in an unfamiliar setting. Researchers may feel exposed to the possibility of physical threats, or they may experience psychological upset or trauma at what they are told, or feel anxious that they could find themselves in a potentially compromising situation.
Common ways of minimizing potential risks to researchers include training in interpersonal skills; use of established procedures to let staff know their whereabouts and to maintain contact; and the use of ‘debriefing’ if researchers are talking to people about particularly sensitive or emotional subjects.
During the OKIS study, the researchers will use a ‘check in, check out’ system to promote personal safety.
This is the last in the short series of blogs on research ethics principles but I'm sure we'll be touching on aspects in future blogs about progress with different aspects of our project.
Blogger: Dorothy McCaughan