The ethics of doing research with young drug users

Daley, K 2009, 'The ethics of doing research with young drug users', in Lockie, S., Bissell, D., Greig, A., Hynes, M., Marsh, D., Saha, L., Sikora, J., & Woodman, D. (ed.) The Future of Sociology, Canberra, Australia, 1-4 December 2009, pp. 1-21.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

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Title The ethics of doing research with young drug users
Author(s) Daley, K
Year 2009
Conference name The Australian Sociological Association Annual Conference
Conference location Canberra, Australia
Conference dates 1-4 December 2009
Proceedings title The Future of Sociology
Editor(s) Lockie, S., Bissell, D., Greig, A., Hynes, M., Marsh, D., Saha, L., Sikora, J., & Woodman, D.
Publisher The Australian Sociological Association
Place of publication Canberra, Australia
Start page 1
End page 21
Total pages 21
Abstract Investigations into young people with problematic substance use raise complex issues for institutional ethics committees. The inclusion of people under 18 years old in research requires significant work in preparing applications that will meet the rigorous criteria that human research ethics committees (HREC) operate within (Bessant 2006). Additionally, researching people's experiences of drug use is fraught with all sorts of ethical conundrums because of its potential legal implications (Fitzgerald & Hamilton 1996; 1997; Moore 1993). This paper will discuss some of the complexities of doing research with these populations using my research on the life experiences of young people with problematic substance use as a case study. After I introduce the study, I explain how the philosophical paradigm of 'ethics' translates into practice. Young people and 'informed consent' are discussed; and the paradox of 'confidentiality' when researching illicit activity is explored. I then use the issue of participant payment to illustrate how the policies of frontline services and HRECs are not always in agreement. Following this, I examine the lack of ethical guidelines that protect the researcher and the implications of this lack of regulation. Finally, I explain how I have negotiated these competing definitions and, most importantly, maintained a research practice that respects and benefits the young people participating.
Subjects Professional Ethics (incl. police and research ethics)
Keyword(s) Research ethics
young people
drug use
informed consent
Copyright notice © Copyright remains with the authors
ISBN 9780646525013
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