Working With Research Ethics: The Role of Advisory Committees in Community-Based Research

  • Barbara Cottrell Freelance Researcher, Writer and Adult Educator
Keywords: Advisory boards, Research Ethics, Community-based research


Research confirms that the university ethics review process, the only formal ethics review process that most community-based researchers in Nova Scotia have experienced, is neither appropriate nor desirable for most community-based researchers. Instead, most community-based researchers conduct their own informal ethics review using an Advisory Committee. These committees facilitate and implement ethical considerations as they emerge out of the specific dynamics as the research progresses. This paper outlines how Advisory Committees are set up, how they attempt to include in decision-making as many voices as possible, especially those of the research participants, and how they monitor what researchers take from and give back to communities, including making sure that research participants' words are returned to them in an accessible form.