‘The project cannot be approved in its current form’: feminist visual research meets the human research ethics committee

Pitt, Penelope 2014, ‘The project cannot be approved in its current form’: feminist visual research meets the human research ethics committee, Australian educational researcher, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 311-325, doi: 10.1007/s13384-013-0136-6.

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Title ‘The project cannot be approved in its current form’: feminist visual research meets the human research ethics committee
Author(s) Pitt, PenelopeORCID iD for Pitt, Penelope orcid.org/0000-0002-4869-836X
Journal name Australian educational researcher
Volume number 41
Issue number 3
Start page 311
End page 325
Total pages 15
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Dordrecht, The Netherlands
Publication date 2014-07
ISSN 0311-6999
Keyword(s) human research ethics committee
family photographs
risk of harm
feminist visual research
institutional review board
researcher's family
Summary This article reflects on a university human research ethics committee’s unease regarding a feminist visual pilot study within the field of education. The small exploratory study proposed to explore a migrant mother’s production of her son’s identity through her family photograph collection. The committee requested substantial changes to the research design which centred primarily on their concerns regarding risk of harm to pre-existing relationships, and also issues of anonymity and consent. I consider the combined liberal individualist, utilitarian and positivist biomedical basis for the ethics committee’s discomfort with the proposed research which was to involve members of my family. I draw on my experience of the review process to critique the human research ethics committee paradigm which constructs the ideal researcher as an objective and disinterested observer, hinges on a weighing of risks and benefits, and considers humans to be independent and equal. I demonstrate how the blanket application of these values acts to problematise some kinds of research, and how these values can be inappropriate, incompatible and even destructive when applied to research proposals that are exploratory, visual, and/or involve the researcher’s family members as participants.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s13384-013-0136-6
Field of Research 139999 Education not elsewhere classified
220107 Professional Ethics (incl police and research ethics)
220305 Ethical Theory
Socio Economic Objective 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30058016

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
School of Education
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Created: Mon, 25 Nov 2013, 09:20:16 EST by Penelope Joy Pitt-alizadeh

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