An ethical guide for health systems researchers
Have you ever had that lurching feeling in the pit of your stomach? Found yourself unable to stop thinking about a troubling interaction that you had with a research participant or collaborator? Felt confused about whether your intervention was doing more harm than good? You are not alone…
All too often ethical reflection, review, and analysis is treated as something that occurs in elite spaces, among people higher up, behind closed doors, or in institutional review boards. Sometimes it is viewed as a one-off element in the research process that occurs before research even begins.
But making ethical practice a day-to-day part of our daily routine as health systems researchers is crucial to research excellence. You don’t have to be an ethics expert to do this – although ethics expertise can contribute great advice, which we have drawn on in this resource.
Our hope is that this website can be a resource for health systems researchers to find and share information to support practical, applied ethics.
The website is separated into an overview section which provides information on issues such as ethics, power, positionality, and progress. Sections on the day-to-day process of research help highlight some of the common challenges that health systems researchers face and provide references which explore these issues in greater detail. We hope that you find the resources useful in your work.
Practical, applied ethics helps us to think through issues like whose views are heard and prioritised; the process by which priorities are set; the relation between researchers, decision makers and the users of health systems; and how funding is generated and spent in the creation of new knowledge. These are issues that we are often grappling with as health systems researchers, but don’t often think of as ethical issues and the additional lens that this can bring to our reflections.
A word from the chairs of the Ethics Thematic Working Group at Health Systems Global
Dorcas Kamuya and Sassy Molyneux explain why this guide is important and how it works.