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Navigating the Process of Ethical Approval: A methodological note

Author(s): Eileen Carey, RNID, BSc. (hons), MSc.

Journal: Grounded Theory Review : an International Journal
ISSN 1556-1542

Volume: 9;
Issue: 3;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: groudned theory | classic grounded theory | ethical approval | ethics

Classic grounded theory (CGT) methodology is a general methodology whereby the researcher aims to develop an emergent conceptual theory from empirical data collected by the researcher during the research study. Gaining ethical approval from relevant ethics committees to access such data is the starting point for processing a CGT study. The adoption of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (UNESCO, 2005) is an indication of global consensus on the importance of research ethics. There is, however, a wide variation of health research systems across countries and disciplines (Hearnshaw 2004). Institutional Research Boards (IRB) or Research Ethics Committees (REC) have been established in many countries to regulate ethical research ensuring that researchers agree to, and adhere to, specific ethical and methodological conditions prior to ethical approval being granted. Interestingly, both the processes and outcomes through which the methodological aspects pertinent to CGT studies are agreed between the researcher and ethics committee remain largely ambiguous and vague. Therefore, meeting the requirements for ethical approval from ethics committees, while enlisting the CGT methodology as a chosen research approach, can be daunting for novice researchers embarking upon their first CGT study.
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