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Public health research involving aboriginal peoples: research ethics board stakeholders' reflections on ethics principles and research processes

Public health research involving aboriginal peoples: research ethics board stakeholders' reflections on ethics principles and research processes

Canadian Journal of Public Health 103(1): 19-22

The second edition (2010) of the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2) prescribes a set of principles and provisions for engagement with Aboriginal communities. The objective of this study was to explore research ethics board (REB) stakeholder perspectives on the principles and processes of reviewing and conducting public health research with Aboriginal populations and communities. Twenty-four semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with REB staff, chairs, members (academic, community and student), and ethics policy key informants with knowledge of the ethics review process, including four Aboriginal participants. Interviews were professionally transcribed verbatim and thematically analyzed using NVivo 8 qualitative data management software. Three dominant themes emerged specific to ethical research practices with Aboriginal communities: 1) the importance of understanding Aboriginal research as a distinct form of research; 2) the unique nature and complexity of negotiating community consent; and 3) the importance of trust and relationship-building in the research process. Thematic results highlight the most prominent issues that REB participants encountered in reviewing research involving Aboriginal peoples. Continued attention needs to be paid to acknowledging and respecting issues of diversity in research involving diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. While specific to Aboriginal peoples, the TCPS2 guidelines also illustrate processes and practices that may assist in the development of respectful, collaborative public health research relationships with other historically marginalized populations.

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Accession: 055283860

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PMID: 22338323

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