Participatory Ethical Practices
Good research follows ethical procedures that reflect the ethical priorities of all those involved - it does not cause harm to participants/environments and aims to have positive impacts.
Standard ethical protocols and guidance do not always take account of the specific issues that arise in collaborative, participatory or activist research.
Standard ethical protocols and guidance may not be relevant to much Transition research; they tend to emphasise harm minimisation, work on the assumption that research process is fixed and not collaborative, and ultimately to protect the interests and reputation of institutions (such as Universities, the NHS, etc).
In contrast, collaborative, participatory and activist research tends to emphasise the positive effects of research as well as harm minimisation; open research processes which are driven by negotiated priorities amongst a wider group; and placing the interests of participants (as well as wider values such as Transition values) first.
While in the past it has been problematic gaining both funding and ethical clearance for these latter forms of research, given that ethical clearance is largely governed by institutions which have had little interest in them, this is changing. There is now ample guidance available on more participatory ethical principles and practices, growing understanding and recognition on the part of Universities and funding bodies of their importance.
The available guidance explains ethical participatory research principles such as accountability, social responsiveness, agency and reflexivity (see Manzo and Brightbill 2007); and provides suggestions for practices that help to enact them (Banks et al 2012).
Develop and apply participatory ethical principles in research, that protect participants interests and are a vehicle for prioritising Transition values.