Considering Africanist Research Ethics Practices in Social Science Research in Africa

  • Puleng SegaloEmail author
  • Lien Molobela
Part of the Research Ethics Forum book series (REFF, volume 7)


Research ethics forms a fundamental and critical aspect of any research endeavour. It therefore becomes pertinent to pay close attention to our understanding of research ethics and ways in which ethical principles are applied. The need for constant revisiting of how we define and apply ethical principles will assist in ensuring that research conducted by both emerging and established scholars is in line with and upholds ethical standards. With the aforesaid in mind, this chapter aims at focusing on ethical practices and principles within the tertiary setting and the accompanying complexities relating to these. Research ethical principles aim to assist in ensuring the “protection of the rights and dignity” of prospective participants. In this chapter, we reflect on and grapple with this idea of “protecting” others by showing how this may be a challenge as it sometimes assumes powerlessness and a lack of voice. We deem this reflection as critical as it affords us the opportunity to imagine the future and engage with ways in which we can contribute towards how future generations of researchers approach the notion of research ethics. We draw briefly from two studies we conducted wherein we highlight some of the contradictions and challenges we sometimes face when it comes to ethical practices within an African context, and we offer possibilities of how these could be tackled.


African ethics Ethics of care Universalist Decolonial ethics 


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Further Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Rhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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