Ethics in Doctoral Studies: Reflections and Refractions from an Experiential Journey
AbstractResearch ethics are the cornerstone of conducting effective and meaningful research. Selected theses by doctoral students show variations in ethical considerations applicable. This article discusses personal reflections and refractions in an experiential journey in which child-rearing practices of refugees were studied. Based on the framework of research ethics, the processes of getting permission to access the study site, informed consent by refugee participants, confidentiality, and dealing with beneficence are explored with emphasis on ethical challenges and how they can be resolved. The paper concludes that gaining access to research site does not translate to gaining access to research participants. Seeking permission to do research with institutionalised refugees may be ‘unethical’, considering how permission is granted administratively on behalf of refugees - for refugees, but without refugees. Implications include that doctoral students need to establish identity with the ‘researched’ earlier than commencement of fieldwork. From the experiential journey, possible recommendations include the critical need for doctoral research to be monitored by university ethics committees to empower postgraduate students to manage looming ethical issues in research.