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Ethics and the Ruling Relations of Research Production.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/02/2003
<mark>Journal</mark>Sociological Research Online
Issue number1
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The role of research ethics committees has expanded across the UK and North America and the process of ethical review has become re-institutionalised under proposals for research governance proposed by government. Ethics committees have gained a powerful role as gatekeepers within the research process. Underpinning the re-constitution of ethical guidelines and research governance, are a range of measures which protect institutional interests, without necessarily providing an effective means to address the moral obligations and responsibilities of researchers in relation to the production of social research. Discussion of research ethics from the standpoint of research participants who in this paper, are service users within health and social care, provides a useful dimension to current debate. In this paper I draw upon experiences of gaining ethical approval for a research study which focused on user participation within a community mental health service. I discuss the strategies used to gain ethical approval and the 'formal concerns' raised by the ethics committee. I then describe and discuss ethical issues which emerged from a participants' perspective during the actual research as it was carried out. These experiences are analysed using aspects of institutional ethnography which provides a framework to explore how the experiences of research participants are mediated by texts which govern the processes of research production. The paper highlights incongruities between the formal ethical regulation of research, and the experiences of research participants in relation to ethical concerns within a research process.