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Health Care Women Int. 2004 Aug;25(7):647-62.

Toward critical research ethics: transforming ethical conduct in qualitative health care research.

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  • 1Department of Anthropology, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois 60614-2458, USA.


Based on research conducted with women injection drug users (WIDUs), I discuss the ethical conflicts that researchers and sub-contractors face in gaining access to the life narratives of WIDUs. Foremost among these is the potentially exploitative nature of the study participant-researcher relationship. I suggest that federal and institutional guidelines for human subject research must incorporate additional safeguards to protect study populations such as WIDUs. Moreover, the ethical concerns related to health care research should be addressed in guidelines for ethical conduct with human subjects, research ethics seminars, and required training programs for researchers and subcontractors separately.

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