ABSTRACT

In 2013, I changed the course markedly. In 2012, before the course ­commenced, I had spoken with the five community liaisons, planned the research projects and wrote ethics applications for each, outlining the entire project, including indicative interview questions. In 2013, I was more hands-off. The 25-page ethics application for each project had been overkill; it required that the research question be stated and the research instrument (such as a survey or an unstructured interview guide) be designated in advance. All of these tasks could be done by the students themselves. Moreover, the ethics application form required a precise research output. I had made too many command decisions, such as whether the output should be a pamphlet, a poster, a video recording or a written report. It was no wonder the organisations’ managers were displeased with my personal role. Preplanning had been deemed essential as it was anticipated that the ethics application could take some weeks to process, and avoidance of any delay was seen as important. In the second year, I no longer found I needed to do most of this preparatory groundwork as the projects were ethically not high risk. Moreover, the ethics application participant information sheet became the students’ primary responsibility, and with it a door to many other responsibilities that the students were ready to open. 1