Impact Practitioners

Improving ethics in data collection and reporting

By 22/02/2024

In this 9-page article from BMJ Global Health, the authors talk about the importance of making sure we follow the right ethical rules when collecting data about sensitive topics after the COVID-19 pandemic. They suggest ways to do a better job of reporting and being ethical when studying violence.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced research teams to change how they conducted participant interviews and gathered data. They also had to adjust their ethical and safeguarding protocols specific to violence studies.

However, the study finds that there was insufficient reporting on ethics of violence against women and children research during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are the key insights to improving ethical reporting in violence studies:

Firstly, using case studies and learning from practical experiences ensures that ethical guidance is not only relevant but also practical within the context of data collection.

Next, it is important to establish robust research partnerships with teams experienced in handling sensitive data and with pre-existing connections to participants.

Research teams will also need to adapt existing data collection strategies, including modifying consent and privacy protocols to suit the remote context.

Finally, iImplementing additional safeguarding processes is necessary for remote data collection. This includes enlisting a counselling team to facilitate access to referral services, and providing remote support for interviewers.

In addition to these. the article highlights the following general ethical considerations that should be considered:

  • Assessing whether results are actionable and useful to communities.
  • Emphasising equity and inclusion during sampling – for example, making sure communities and survivors are included in the research design.
  • Ensuring safe and adequate working conditions for data collection staff.

Overall, this article stresses the need for clear guidelines when studying violence against women and children, and it gives us practical steps to make sure we’re ethical in our research.

This article is part of our initiative, R2A Impact Practitioners. To find out more, please click here.