Ethics and Social Welfare:1-20 (forthcoming)
|Abstract||This paper explores the perceptions and experiences of four doctoral researchers to examine how research ethics committee (REC) processes have shaped and influenced specific health-based ethnographic studies. This paper considers how a universal tightening of ethical REC scrutiny at university level, as well as those governing the health and social care sector in the United Kingdom, impacts upon social research involving the inclusion of participants from certain groups. Increased restrictions in ethics scrutiny is justified as protecting vulnerable people from intrusive research and is embedded in legislation, specifically the UK Mental Capacity Act 2005. The general international trend towards greater ethical scrutiny is heralded as an uncontested social good, yet this unquestioned assumption is tested in relation to qualitative social research methodologies that seek to explore the experiences of ?vulnerable? individuals. It is consequently argued that ethics review restrictions are in danger of disenfranchising sectors of the community, excluding them from engaging in social research activities that would serve to highlight their experiential and lived conditions. The enhanced bureaucratic control of the doctoral process in conjunction with the REC is also discussed as inhibiting proposed studies|
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