Ethics of participatory action research on food security related projects: Experiences and lessons learned
LE3 .A278 2012
Bachelor of Science
Nutrition & Dietetics
Building on a need for University Research Ethics Board (UREB) guidelines specific to Participatory Action Research (PAR) identified by the UREB at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU), this project seeks to examine ethical issues in participatory food security-related work as well as to identify strategies to address these issues. The present study used qualitative methods, specifically in-depth semi-structured interviews, to capture researchers’ experiences with food security-related PAR initiatives. The following research questions were addressed: What were the ethical challenges inherent in PAR processes and what were the strategies to overcome those challenges? Interviews were transcribed verbatim, data were managed using NVIVO 7 software, and a phenomenological method of inquiry based on the premise that reality consists of lived experiences. Open coding was used to identify specific themes that were then compared with the theoretical framework of Israel and colleagues (1998). By using this process, it was possible to capture content outside of the framework, including the challenges related to partnership sustainability, confidentiality, dissemination, consent and REB forms and processes. Strategies to address these issues included: the need for face-to-face interactions; emphasis on process; appropriate communication; creating a body of knowledge; clear expectations regarding project sustainability; and support and education for researchers and REBs. The results of this research will help to inform the guidelines for ethical practice by bringing in the voices and lived experience of those who work in this field.
The author grants permission to the University Librarian at Acadia University to reproduce, loan or distribute copies of my thesis in microform, paper or electronic formats on a non-profit basis. The author retains the copyright of the thesis.