Global Reflections to Re-envision Notions of Ethical Social Science Research

This activity will center on a 3-day symposium designed to re-envision notions of ethical social science research using reflections from the global COVID-19 crisis. A collaboration between Research ICT Africa, the University of Technology Sydney, and the UW Information School, the symposium will convene a cohort of global research practitioners and thought leaders to critically unpack past and current paradigms of social science research methodologies and set an agenda for new dimensions of ethical research.
Despite evolving participatory methods and practices, there are still power dynamics, institutional structures, entrenched methodologies, and vestiges of colonial systems that continue to color the conduct of research in marginalized communities. The veneer of “scientific” research can obscure the assumptions built into many current research practices, resulting in potential harm to individuals and communities and hamper the validity of findings. The COVID-19 crisis has forced methodological limitations and implications to the forefront as researchers are confronted with limited community access, constraints in substituting digital technology for face-to-face methods, and needing to redefine the roles of local research collaborators. Panelists will reflect upon their experiences conducting research before and during COVID, and discuss what a new normal of social science research can look like. Panelist will unpack perspectives on ethical research within the following areas, with the aim of promoting knowledge democracy (breaking the hold of “intellectual colonialism”) across disciplines and geographies:
– Climate change and the environment- Race and equity- Population health- Indigenous communities- Community organizations and public libraries- Digital technology in research
The symposium will occur in spring 2021, expecting conversation to initiate important reflections leading into the summer research period. Upon the event’s conclusion, project members will document and publish key points and areas of action to create tangible resources researchers can use to trigger dialogue and change for themselves and their institutions.

Grant Info


Chris Rothschild

Start Date

Jan 1, 2020