The Office of the Dean of Research held a workshop titled “The Ethics of Research: Practical Considerations” at 1:00 pm on Wednesday April 18, 2018 in D109. This was the sixth meeting of the BU Research Group for this semester. Faculty members from various departments and programs including the English Department, Social Sciences, Religious Studies, Hotel Management and Tourism, and the Athletic Department attended the meeting.
Dean of Research Prof. Jamil Khader welcomed the participants and introduced the topic of research ethics and its importance especially for researchers who are conducting research in vulnerable communities under exceptional political circumstances such as occupation in Palestine. He also mentioned the recent research ethics guidelines that were approved by the Academic Council and which require filling out an IRB (Institutional Review Board) form for every research project, on which BU faculty members are working whether or not it involves human subjects.
Prof. Khader then screened a short video on research ethics which covers various aspects of the topic including academic honesty, researchers’ rights, dimensions of research ethics, and the reasons for observing research ethics. A discussion of the video ensued and the participants highlighted different concerns they have about the video in particular and research ethics in general.
Ms. Laura Adwan, Instructor in the Social Sciences department, noted the aspirational tone of the presentation which does not take into consideration important practical issues that relate to the contradiction between the demand for objectivity in research and national priorities and security. Dr. Bilal Salameh, Assistant Professor of Social Sciences, addressed the topic of how to deal creatively with concerns that research communities might raise about the research project if they believe without reasonable ground that it is harmful to their reputation or image.
On his part, Dr. Mahmud Hammad, Assistant Professor of Social Sciences and Dean of Students, mentioned that all these issues should be considered in light of the objectives of the research project and other variables especially culture. Mr. Imad Abu Dayyeh wondered about the ethical aspects of research projects that offer financial compensation for participants.
The discussion addressed other various concerns such as alternative research models that are more appropriate for participatory research, postmodern conventions in research, and publications venue. Ms. Samar Mousa, Director of the Athletics Departments, mentioned that it was important for researchers to rethink the objectives and conventions of the literature review and emphasized the need to address the generalizability of the results.
Towards the end of the session, the participants reviewed the new BU research ethics guidelines and IRB form. It was suggested that other meetings be held in the future to discuss these guidelines and forms in more depth.