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Getting Ethics Approval: A Researcher's Personal Perspective


"Reaching the Foothills of Everest” Ethics Approval - A Personal Perspective. By Chris Jenkin. Published in NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 2005, pp. 103-111.

Abstract

I am currently working on my doctorate entitled ‘Enhancing the Bicultural Curriculum in Early Childhood Education’. Part of the process of this study was making an application to the Auckland University of Technology Ethics Committee (AUTEC) prior to starting the data collection stage of the research. According to Oliver (2003) researchers tend to experience an application to an ethics committee as an unnecessarily lengthy process preventing them from getting on with their research. I found fellow students who had completed the ethics approval process were sympathetic rather than encouraging. But my experience was that the process (albeit lengthy) was worthwhile, challenging and reassuring as my vague research proposal became a specific planned timeline for the research. My response to fellow students in the future would be to explain what a positive difference the process can make. In this paper I describe the landmark ethics case in New Zealand (the Cartwright Commission, 1988) and the purpose of ethics committees. This is followed by an outline of the process of completing an ethics application, the specific ethical issues I needed to address, the knowledge I gained and the reassurance and satisfaction I felt on completion of the process.

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