By summarising papers delivered at a conference in Kilifi, Kenya this article provides useful learning on relationships in the health research process. The authors argue that more should be done to understand the ethics of relationships between “whole populations, the functioning of research institutions, the processes of collaboration, and the ethics of inequitable international relations.” It explores how our failure to be led by the ethical perceptions and feedback of ‘studied’ communities and those field workers and research assistants who are on the frontline of research practice can weaken our analysis. It also raises questions about the utility of ethics checklists and standard operating procedures that may stifle rather than strengthen the lively interplay of every day dialogue about ethics and privilege global agendas over more context specific analysis.
Molyneux, C.S. and Geissler, W. (2008) Editorial: Ethics and ethnography in medical research in Africa. Social Science & Medicine, 67(5): 685-695