Democratising Ethical Regulation and Practice in Educational Research

Fox, Alison and Busher, Hugh (2022). Democratising Ethical Regulation and Practice in Educational Research. Education Sciences, 12(10), article no. 674.



This paper sets the context for questions covered in the Education Sciences Special Issue: Regulation and Ethical Practice for Educational Research: What are appropriate ethical appraisal and approval practices for particular contexts? How can ethics committees effectively support educational re-searchers and educational research? To do so, the paper argues for a democratising of ethical reg-ulation and practice in educational research, which includes the decolonization agenda, to break away from enduring power imbalances in knowledge production. A key focus is on the regulation of educational research through ethics committees (whether institutional, regional and/or national) and how this affects research practice. While intended to help researchers to protect and benefit potential research participants, ethics committees themselves can have an important part to play in recognizing and removing barriers to inclusivity, as well as in erecting them, to maximise the ben-efits of educational research. To overturn the dominance of global North knowledge, for post-colonial research ethics regulation, broader conversations of researcher values and experiences in different parts of the world are needed. This paper explores how ethics committees’ expectations do and could shape researcher decision-making. It presents examples of approaches to ethical appraisal which would support empowerment and participation, not only for gatekeepers and participants but also for the research community, whether experienced researcher, ethics committee member or neophyte researcher. Evidence of ethical research practice which paves the way forward is drawn from a range of contexts to help acknowledge the enduring and wide-ranging impact of colonialism, neo-liberalism and neo-imperialism.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions