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Blog series

The challenges and solutions for qualitative researchers in gaining ethical approval and consent

A special series of blogs asks the difficult questions about current informed consent and ethical approval practices and assumptions, critically exploring the work and philosophy of both ethics committees and researchers.

In an increasingly risk-averse society, attuned to the dangers of reputational damage and violations of new data protection regulations, researchers seeking to carry out qualitative research projects are meeting with ever-greater barriers to gaining approval from ethics committees. Societal pressures on educational settings are making some less willing to host research, just as pressures on higher educational institutions are affecting what research, conducted in their names, they are prepared to approve. These pressures could endanger the diversity of research evidence that is required in order to properly inform practice.

This series of blogs draws together perspectives from researchers working in diverse settings, and at different career-stages, to question current practices in and assumptions about informed consent and ethical approval both in theory and in practice. By critically exploring the work and philosophy of both ethics committees and research practices, the authors give insights into how we employ more reflexive, constructive and positive approaches to ethical issues in educational research that will enable a plurality of approaches to continue to enrich the field.

Content in this series