Maggio R, Emmerich N (2017). The Ethics of Excluding Potentially Off-Putting Details From the Recruitment Materials for Perspective Research Participants


In preparation for the fieldwork component of our research on the ethics of early intervention, I had to negotiate my research routines with three main subjects: the Central University Research Ethics Committee at the University of Oxford, the Research Ethics and Integrity Office at University College Dublin, and the Board of the Northside Partnership—a body that works to improve the lives of residents in the Northside of Dublin, Ireland. One issue that caused some controversy was whether or not my affiliation with the Department of Psychiatry should be included in the headline of our recruitment material. The Board of the Northside Partnership suggested that the term “psychiatry” might discourage individuals from participating, whereas a member of the Central University Research Ethics Committee suggested that omitting this information entailed a form of deception. My research team and I decided to remove the affiliation, and upon consultation with the Central University Research Ethics Committee, we decided that I will communicate that information orally and upon request. This decision provides an opportunity to reflect about the ethical dilemmas that might emerge in the process of getting ethical approval.

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