Researchers tend to formally engage with ethical issues at the beginning of their projects when they have to approach Institutional Ethical Review Boards and submit proposals for their work. However, engaging with ethics is something that we are all continuously doing throughout our research, often informally and ‘under the radar’.
Sharing our experiences and resources can help us during all stages of the research process, including navigating the sometimes-fraught processes of: generating questions; choosing study designs and methods; building relationships; collecting data; making decisions about analysis; and communicating research.
There is an obvious gap in frameworks and guidance documents when it comes to the ethics of health systems research. However, there is the potential to learn ethical lessons from other types of health research and across research disciplines.