23 November 2017

Sample Boilerplate Language for Ethnographic Ethics Proposals

Blogger Jennifer Long has been spending lots of time (too much time) writing ethics proposals these days. However, many university-related ethics boards have very useful tips, tricks and resources to help researchers along.

So if it's your first or fortieth kick of the ethics proposal can, check out your institutions REB home page before pulling out your hair and throwing items across the room.

Although I'm not conducting ethnography at this time, McMaster's REB has an ethnographic boiler plate template for ethnographic studies. It's a useful document with tidbits such as these for the methods section:

This project will be based on standard methods of ethnographic research in the discipline of anthropology. Researchers in cultural anthropology (ethnographers) engage in participant observation, a fieldwork method based on social relationships between individuals and the ethnographer, in which the ethnographer assumes the position of a student or apprentice who learns through participating in everyday activities with community members and observing social life.  This participant observation component of my research is essential because it will provide the broad social and cultural context for my specific research questions that deal with [INSERT YOUR RESEARCH TOPIC HERE].

Following the general methodology of participant observation, this study will involve several specific tasks.  From approximately [INSERT DATE] to [INSERT DATE] I will reside in [INSERT LOCATION(S) ] where I will participate in many aspects of community life including [INSERT DETAILS].  
Because of my [INSERT DETAILS, IF APPLICABLE], I already know many people in [INSERT NAME OF LOCALITIES] and I expect that I will have no trouble integrating into the community.  I also plan to [INSERT DETAILS]. 

Follow the link in the Quick Links to see the whole document. Many thanks to its original authors from the Anthropology program at McMaster: Dr. Badone and Rebecca Plett.

Quick Links: