From ethical challenges to opportunities: Reflections on participatory and collaborative research with refugees in Australia
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© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This reflective article draws upon our recent experiences in researching with refugees, especially women and youth, who have resettled in Australia. It is a practice and research-oriented article that presents our experience as a series of ethical challenges and how these were resolved to form opportunities for ongoing collaboration. We discuss the limitations of existing ethical guidelines relating to research with displaced people especially refugees; the difficulties of gaining consent in a manner that balances university requirements with participant self-determination; the issue of tangible benefits and reciprocity for participants; the challenge of accurate representation of refugee voices, using imagery; and finally our ongoing accountability to participants. In trying to address these issues, our projects have used a participatory, collaborative research method, in keeping with recent calls for greater use of this approach. In doing so, we have attempted to redistribute social power, ownership of results and resources from the researchers to the participants. We posit that giving refugee participants the opportunity to actively participate in sharing their stories is empowering and builds strength and resilience.
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