The Faculty of Humanities, along with many other bodies engaged in research in South Africa and more widely, has become increasingly aware over time of the importance and relevance of well-defined and properly supported codes, protocols and standards to govern the ethics of research on human subjects.
A great deal of research on human subjects is done in this Faculty, at every level - undergraduate, graduate and among academic staff. A comprehensive statement on why it is important to apply proper and appropriate standards for such research can be found in the Faculty Policy on Research on Human Subjects (Appendix A).
The Guidebook was revised by the Research Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Humanities of 2013 for use by all departments, research institutes, other academic units, research teams or groups, or individual researchers within the Faculty. It applies to the research of both students and staff. It represents a welcome and necessary step forward in assisting members of the Faculty in understanding why the ethics of research on human subjects is of concern to all of us, more so than ever, and in managing the way we oversee such research. (The Guidebook does not deal with the ethics of research on animals, for which a separate university committee exists.)
Ethical Quandaries in Social Research: the book opens up a space of frank discussion about the often unsettling, messy realities of ethical decision-making in the thick of social research. All the contributors write in the first person about personal experiences of research. They expose tensions within professional codes of ethics, as well as a range of dilemmas that arose when personal ethical convictions jostled with disciplinary and institutional ethical imperatives. The book is unique in spanning a range of research scenarios, qualitative and quantitative, across different disciplines, fields of study and institutional settings. Book editors: Deborah Posel and Fiona Ross, HSRC Press (2015)