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Engaging with care: ethical issues in Participatory Research

Bussu, Sonia ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0360-7070, Lalani, Mirza, Pattison, Stephen and Marshall, Martin (2021) Engaging with care: ethical issues in Participatory Research. Qualitative Research, 21 (5). pp. 667-685. ISSN 1468-7941

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Abstract

This paper contributes to the literature on ethics in Participatory Research (PR) by looking at the Researcher-in-Residence model and its application within health services research in three East London boroughs. The Researcher-in-Residence is embedded in the organisation to enable knowledge mobilisation and knowledge coproduction. Whereas negotiation of different types of expertise to coproduce evidence might raise issues of power differentials, the embedded nature of the role also requires careful negotiating of relationships. As the researcher is immersed in the context under evaluation, the boundaries between the researcher and the participants’ everyday working life can become blurred. The paper explores these ethical issues and suggests that, whereas the requirements of ethics committees, based on an ethics of principle, at times fail to offer appropriate guidelines for this methodological approach, an ethics of care based on relationships can offer a complementary framework to address some of the thorny challenges that emerge from everyday practice in PR.

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