Menu ENN Search

Ethical research in conflict situations

Summary of published research1

A recent article in 'Global Public Health' asserts that issues of power and consent, confidentiality, risks to researchers, and potential harm to participants, may arise when working with different cultures and within environments marked by violence and insecurity. Difficulty resolving these dilemmas may paralyse ethics committees, may fail to give the guidance sought by researchers, and will not help populations who are among the world's most vulnerable. Even where efforts are made to respond to ethical guidelines and to improve practice, considerable impediments are present in many developing countries, including lack of formal ethical review structures in unstable settings, lack of required skills, limited political and institutional recognition of ethical issues, competing interests, and limitations in clinical and research practice.

In conflict settings, these limitations are more marked and the responsibilities of the researcher for ethical practice are greater, but the mechanisms for oversight are weaker. Moreover, the constant focus on vulnerabilities and problems, and the often almost total lack of recognition of strengths and resilience, can further disempower already exploited groups and individuals. The capacity of refugees and communities in conflict to take an active role in the research process is seldom acknowledged, and undermines the potential for more innovative research that can help generate the evidence for better policy and practice.

The full article is available at: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/17441692.asp and clicking on the link to issue 3.

The authors welcome feedback on the issues covered in the article and can be contacted as follows: Professor Anthony Zwi, School of Public Health and Community Medicine & Associate Dean (International), Faculty of Medicine, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052 tel: +61(2) 9385 2445 fax: +61(2) 9313 6185 email: a.zwi@unsw.edu.au

Show footnotes

1Zwi A et al (2006). Placing ethics in the centre: Negotiating new spaces for ethical research in conflict situations. Global Public Health, vol 1, No 3, pp 264-277, October 2006.

More like this

en-net: Ethical approval in multi-country study

ENN in collaboration with a number of agencies are conducting an observational study on defaulting from emergency supplementary feeding programmes. The study will take place...

FEX: The potential role of local academia in protracted crises – the example of the American University of Beirut

By Amelia Reese Masterson, Hala Ghattas and Fouad M Fouad Amelia Reese Masterson was a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Research on Population and Health at the American...

FEX: MSF initiative of proactive data sharing

Summary of article1 Location: Global What we know: Data sharing in humanitarian contexts is important to build evidence but has practical and ethical challenges. What this...

FEX: Issue 17 Editorial

Dear readers, Ethical considerations figure prominently in this issue of Field Exchange. A field article written by Dr. Eva Grabosch tackles the problem of providing...

FEX: Towards better documentation of mortality in crises

Summary of research1 A family in an IDP camp in DRC A recently published article identifies the two main functions of mortality data in crises as the support of relief...

FEX: Ethics of use of ready-to-use-therapeutic foods

Dear Editor, I have been following the debate on the ethics surrounding the research on Community Therapeutic Care (CTC) and Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs), and was...

FEX: Human rights, politics and ethics

Summary of published paper1 A recent article in the Lancet argues that very little attention has been devoted to the relationship between external human rights contexts and the...

FEX: How to ensure quality research uptake

By Stephanie Stern Stephanie Stern leads the Action Against Hunger LAB project which aims to reinforce the impact and uptake of knowledge. Before joining Action Against...

FEX: Review of scale and drivers of persistent global acute malnutrition

Summary of research1 Location: Global What we know: The prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) regularly exceeds the emergency threshold of >15% in protracted...

FEX: Methodological challenges for operational research in the humanitarian context

By Stephanie Stern and Melchior de Roquemaurel Stephanie Stern leads the Action Against Hunger LAB project which aims to reinforce the impact and uptake of knowledge. Before...

FEX: Operational research in low-income countries: what, why, and how?

Summary of research1 A Lancet published article puts forward a definition of operational research, articulates its relevance to infectious-disease-control programmes, and...

FEX: The MAMI Project – Key findings and recommendations

Summary of report1 Child malnutrition is a major global public health issue. The burden of acute malnutrition in children 6 months to 5 years is well recognised, and the...

FEX: The Nutrition Situation of Refugees and Displaced Persons

Summary of the ACC/SCN Refugee chapter by Jane Wallace The quarterly 'Reports on the Nutrition Situation of Refugees and Displaced Populations' (RNIS) are compiled and...

FEX: Treatment of moderate acute malnutrition using food products or counselling: A systematic review

By Natasha Lelijveld, Alexandra Beedle, Arghanoon Farhikhtah, Eglal Elrayah Elamin, Jessica Bourdaire and Nancy Aburto Natasha Lelijveld is a Teaching Fellow at the University...

FEX: Editorial

View this article as a pdf In this issue of Field Exchange we are delighted to feature, for the second year running, a special section that shares key outputs of Action...

FEX: Malnutrition research in urban Africa: issues and opportunities

By Kelsey DJ Jones Screening for acute malnutrition in a Kenyan slum KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Wellcome Trust Centre for Global Health Research, Imperial...

FEX: Editorial

A number of the recommendations in the Grand Bargain reported on in the last issue of Field Exchange speak to the need to forge stronger links between humanitarian and...

FEX: Improving care of people with NCDs in humanitarian settings

News By Emily Mates, ENN Technical Director (meeting attendee) There is an increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among people displaced and otherwise affected...

FEX: Tackling the double burden of malnutrition in low and middle-income countries: response of the international community

Research By Alexandra Rutishauser-Perera Alexandra Rutishauser-Perera is a Humanitarian Nutrition Adviser with Save the Children. She has ten years of experience of public...

Close

Reference this page

Ethical research in conflict situations. Field Exchange 29, December 2006. p5. www.ennonline.net/fex/29/ethicalresearch

(ENN_2191)

Close

Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.