Session and Workshop Abstracts

Session 1A (S1A) - Abstracts

Beyond Borders: Ethics in transnational and global research

Paper 1: Navigating TNE ethics and devolvement procedures in a pandemic setting

Speaker(s): Fernando Pabst Silva

Keywords: devolvement, ethical approval process, transnational education, franchise partners

Abstract: One aspect of the working-from-home paradigm of the lockdown period where it relates to research ethics has already generated some attention and interest: how to ensure that systems that are in place are fit for purpose and robust enough to continue providing the due diligence expected from these systems. However, one aspect that has not been looked at more directly is the case of research ethics associated with transnational education, and how to navigate the sometimes incongruent scenarios between different nations when maintaining franchise partnerships in this area and all the associated risks and rewards of the devolvement of ethics consideration. I will present a case study of how that has happened in the context of Cardiff Metropolitan University, which has established TNE links with Singapore, Sri Lanka, Greece, and others.


Paper 2: Ethics for each and for all: Negotiating ethics in multi-national projects

Speaker(s): Fiona Harrison, Alison Fox, John Oates

Keywords: ethics protocols; multi-partner projects; ethical regulations; ethics-in-practice

Abstract: Projects involving multiple partners carrying out co-ordinated research in different national contexts have a task to undertake to co-ordinate their protocols, including their approaches to ethical integrity. This is especially the case where the project includes vulnerable groups such as children and young people (C&YP) as participants, requiring the research team to take high responsibility both collectively and locally for ensuring their rights will be respected. If Article 12 of the UNCRC is to be fully evoked in thinking about the voice of the child (Lundy, 2007) then this involves both protection, limiting exposing C&YP to risks, and enablement, including their perspectives in various aspects of the project. Maximising participation might be considered a ‘given’ in any research project but, when it includes multiple partners working in different national contexts, how these considerations are taken forward is not straightforward. For them to be realised, ecological views of ethics are helpful (Flinders, 1992; Boutin-Foster et al, 2013; Luks and Siebenhüner, 2007) in identifying the social web of interdependent relationships involved. 

This presentation is based on large-scale projects involving many partner organisations in many nations. In these projects, we needed to work with one another in different assemblages. First, in ways which clarified roles for different partners. Second, lead researchers in each partner needed to work with their local research teams. Third, these research teams needed to work with local gatekeepers and practitioners. Fourth, the practitioners needed to incorporate the project’s vision into their praxis in ways which could be overseen by the project team. The approach taken to developing an ethical framework for the project centred on showing respect aimed at building trust across the national settings, rather than imposing a project lead-directed framework. This presentation reflects on creating coherent project approaches to research ethics and data protection which support both protection and enablement of its participants set amidst a diversity of regulations. This is set within Stark’s notions of anticipatory versus constitutive approaches to ethical documentation and deliberations (Stark, 2011). This allowed flexibility to develop different variants of protocols across settings whilst ensuring compliance with different national expectations. 

The presentation includes reflections on tensions which arose and were resolved as such approaches were carried forward through the projects. These challenges and setting-specific issues are reflected upon in terms of an ongoing approach to ethics-in-practice, rather than relying on universal ethical procedures set in stone at the start of the project.