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  1. Helen Gremillion, Martin Tolich & Ralph Bathurst (2015). Lay Members of New Zealand Research Ethics Committees: Who and What Do They Represent? Research Ethics 11 (2):82-97.
    Since the 1988 Cartwright Inquiry, lay members of ethics committees have been tasked with ensuring that ordinary New Zealanders are not forgotten in ethical deliberations. Unlike Institutional Review Boards in North America, where lay members constitute a fraction of ethics committee membership, 50% of most New Zealand ethics committees are comprised of lay members. Lay roles are usually defined in very broad terms, which can vary considerably from committee to committee. This research queries who lay representatives are, what they do, (...)
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  2. Martin Tolich (2015). How Idiocultures and Warrants Operate Independently in New Zealand Health Ethics Review Boards. Research Ethics 11 (2):67-81.
    Laura Stark’s ethnography of IRB decision-making unearthed two concerns: first, even though the committees were governed by ethical principles, the committees generated their own precedents for future decision-making; second, Stark witnessed unequal power relations within committee decision-making as a member’s expertise was accepted as a ‘warrant’. This article examines how these warrants are practiced within the decision-making process of New Zealand’s four Health and Disability Ethics Committees. More specifically, this article concerns these warrants during a committee’s decision to consult with (...)
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  3. Martin Tolich (2009). The Principle of Caveat Emptor: Confidentiality and Informed Consent as Endemic Ethical Dilemmas in Focus Group Research. [REVIEW] Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 6 (1):99-108.
    Informed consent and confidentiality supposedly minimize harm for research participants in all qualitative research methodologies, inclusive of one-on-one unstructured interviews and focus groups. This is not the case for the latter. Confidentiality and informed consent uniquely manifest themselves as endemic ethical dilemmas for focus group researchers. The principle of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) may be a more useful tool for those involved in focus group research: that is, let the researcher, the participants and the ethics committee beware that (...)
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  4. Martin Tolich (2008). Guidelines for Community-Based Ethics Review of Children's Science Fair Projects. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 5 (4):303-310.
    Low-level community based ethics committees staffed by teachers, parents and community representatives can readily review children’s science fair projects subject to the revision of two core assumptions currently governing children’s Science Fairs. The first part of the paper recasts the New Zealand Royal Society guidelines from its primary emphasis on risk to a new assumption, without benefit there can be no risk. Equally, this revision gives more prominence to the participant information sheet, allowing it to act as a quasi application (...)
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  5. Martin Tolich & Kate Mary Baldwin (2005). Unequal Protection for Patient Rights: The Divide Between University and Health Ethics Committees. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 2 (1):34-40.
    Despite recommendations from the Cartwright Report ethical review by health ethics committees has continued in New Zealand without health practitioners ever having to acknowledge their dual roles as health practitioners researching their own patients. On the other hand, universities explicitly identify doctor/research-patient relations as potentially raising conflict of role issues. This stems from the acknowledgement within the university sector itself that lecturer/research-student relations are fraught with such conflicts. Although similar unequal relationships are seen to exist between health researchers and their (...)
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