This is the first of a three parts on the vexed matter of ethics and the impact of ethics committees.  This first part proposes that a latent consequence of the deliberations of ethics committees is that they change the design and behaviour of researchers in a range of ways.  I have labelled this as "ethical determinism" and propose that there are at least five variants to this phenomenon.  To access that paper, click here

The second part will examine the need to develop 'win-win' situations between ethics committees and researchers.  Some possible common-sense strategies will also be proposed.  That dimension is currently in preparation in conjunction with Jo Perry with support from Manukau Institute of Technolgy.  As a preliminary portion of that exercise, we developed and presented a (refereed) presentation for the 2010 New Zealand Association for Research in Education.  That presentation owes much to the theoretical framework of 'tensions' as developed by Dr A.W. (Tony) English who has recently written a wonderfully crafted book ('Tug of War', published by Common Ground).  To access that presentation, please click here.  

The third and final installment of this opinion peiece will likely be a fuller study.  As I see it, the study will consider some cases where ethical considerations have gone awry and will briefly outline the consequences of such outcomes for researchers and research supporting agencies.   In other words, that contemplated exercise will be framed to investigate the impact of research ethics across a range of tertiary establishments in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

In concluding this commentary, I need to make the point that as this is an opinion piece, it comprises my ruminations about an issue.  This means that I've not yet looked at the literature about this matter and much of what I have to say here may, in fact, already have been considered by other writers.  If anyone wants to drop me a line about any of the points I've made, please do... so here we go with part one of three.