‘Stop stealing our stories’: The ethics of research with vulnerable groups

Pittaway, E., Bartolomei, L., & Hugman, R. (2010). ‘Stop stealing our stories’: The ethics of research with vulnerable groups. Journal of Human Rights Practice, 2(2), 229-251.

The article describes the ethics of doing research with vulnerable people, ethical thinking at an individual and organizational level and how to combine ethical sensitivity with strategic effectiveness. The authors argue that ethical inadequacies lead to the ill-treatment of vulnerable people as a means to achieve research results which breaches the basic principles of accepted research ethics.

This article focuses on the challenges and opportunities faced when using participatory methods into human rightsbased research. Specifically it focuses on ethical problems experienced while doing research with refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs). It further looks at the ethical concerns as raised by the refugees that the authors were working with. Reciprocal research which involves getting information from people through community consultation and training is also mentioned. The authors also describe how a human-rights based approach can be integrated with participatory methods that view the participants as people with dignity and strength from which they can negotiate their position in research.

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