African Social Science Review


Abstract: Research ethics review by ethics committees has grown in importance since the end of the Nuremberg trials in 1949. However, ethics committees have come under increasing criticisms either for been ‘toothless or too fierce’ (Fistein & Quilligan, 2012:224). This paper presents a personal account of my experience in obtaining ethical approval for my PhD study from a UK university and the ethical dilemmas encountered in the fieldwork in Ghana. In this paper I question whether strict adherence to ethical guidelines developed from western perspectives is useful in conducting research in non-western societies. As more academics are increasingly been mandated to undertake international research, the paper argues for more flexibility in the ethical approval process to accommodate cultural differences.



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