Policy Press

Researchers and their 'subjects'

Ethics, power, knowledge and consent

Edited by Marie Smyth and Emma Williamson


Oct 13, 2004

Page count

240 pages




234 x 156 mm


Policy Press
Researchers and their 'subjects'

This book examines the role of participants in research and how research ethics can be put into practice. Specifically, It:

discusses the ethical regulations and guidance governing researchers in different disciplines;

analyses case studies of innovative research projects where ethics have been central to the researcher-subject relationship;

assesses the impact of ethics on research methods and approaches;

provides useful comparisons of research conducted by professionals and service-users;

offers a unique insight into research participants' perspectives, which are so often absent in discussions of research ethics.

This book is essential reading for researchers who are concerned about the ethical quality of their interactions with their subjects, research funders and those engaged in research governance.

"... an unusual and fascinating book. Each chapter is a well-told story of research practice as it really is rather than as we might hope it to be." Community Care

"... invaluable to postgraduate students and social researchers who are invloved in applied research settings and any researchers debating the role and remit of ethics committees." SRA News

"An original and extremely interesting contribution to the highly topical debate on research ethics. This book should be essential reading for social researchers, students on research methods courses, members of Research Ethics Committees, and those who are responsible for funding and managing research." Professor Jan Pahl, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent

Marie Breen-Smyth is Professor Emerita and former Associate Dean at the University of Surrey. Emma Williamson is a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow currently working at the Centre for Ethics in Medicine, University of Bristol, UK.

Introduction ~ Emma Williamson and Marie Smyth; Part One: Participation and inclusion: Ethical considerations in service-user-led research: Strategies for Living Project ~ Sarah Wright, Rachel Waters, Vicky Nicholls and members of the Strategies for Living Project; Making the decision about enrolment in a randomised controlled trial ~ Tracey J. Stone; Ethical protection in research: including children in the debate ~ Trudy Goodenough, Emma Williamson, Julie Kent and Richard Ashcroft; 'An equal relationship'?: people with learning difficulties getting involved in research ~ Beth Tarleton, Val Williams, Neil Palmer and Stacey Gramlich; Part Two: The review and governance process: Research with psychiatric patients: knowing their own minds? ~ Sarah Nelson; Researching end of life in old age: ethical challenges ~ Ailsa Cameron, Liz Lloyd, Naomi Kent and Pat Anderson; Part Three: Researchers' relationships with participants: Interviewing: the unspoken compact ~ Jean Rafferty; Using participative action research with war-affected populations: lessons from research in Northern Ireland and South Africa ~ Marie Smyth; Conducting longitudinal epidemiological research in children ~ John Henderson; Speaking truth to power: experiencing critical research ~ Phil Scraton; Domestic violence and research ethics ~ The Domestic Violence Research Group (DRVG), University of Bristol; Conclusion ~ Marie Smyth and Emma Williamson.