Journal of Academic Ethics

, Volume 4, Issue 1–4, pp 61–75 | Cite as

Conflict and Convergence: The Ethics Review of Action Research

  • Michael Owen


The article is based on the author’s experience as an administrator of three primarily social science institutional review boards (IRBs) to which researchers presented research protocols that purported to be minimal risk studies of teacher practice where the “teacher–researcher” was the “research subject.” Recently, educational, social, and behavioral science researchers encounter many problems with regard to their methodologies and the oversight mandate of the IRBs. There is a divergence between the IRB’s role and assumed bio-clinical predisposition and the ability of behavioral and social science researchers to have their research methodologies and research understood and appreciated by IRB members. The article explores some of the dilemmas confronting IRB members and administrators in the review and administration of the action research protocols, particularly those that involve vulnerable populations and which, from the practitioner–researcher’s perspective, focus on the practitioner–researcher as the object of the research.

Key words

action research ethics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

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