Ethical Considerations

As part of your research for Map the System, we encourage you to conduct first-person interviews with stakeholders related to the issue you have chosen. Typically, this would involve contacting organisations working in the sector to understand more about their work and the challenges they face. Or, you may wish to speak to beneficiaries/customers of a particular initiative to better understand their needs. Interviews may take place face-to-face or via telephone or email. You may also wish to conduct surveys/questionnaires to gather data.

Before conducting any interviews or surveys, you should speak with your supervisor to see if your institution requires you to comply with any specific ethical guidelines.

Here are some general ethical principles to consider:

Informed consent – when reaching out to participants for your research, have you explained to them in plain language what they will be giving information for and how it will be used? How will participants give consent to take part in the study? Have you provided them with a way to opt-out if they change their mind at a later date?

Confidentiality – are participants aware if any sensitive data might be used? Will they have control over what they are willing to have shared publicly in reports and presentations? How will you ensure that any private data is kept confidential and stored securely?

Anonymity – if you are sharing data publicly, will you anonymise the results and/or use pseudonyms for the participants so they cannot be identified personally?

Protection from harm – how will you ensure that participation in your study will not cause any direct or indirect harm to participants? Do you intend to involve participants that could be considered vulnerable populations? If so, how will you ensure you protect their interests and gain informed consent?

Feedback & transparency – do you intend to provide participants with a copy of your completed report & map when it is finished so they can see how their information was used?

Most importantly, it is critical to ensure the safety of yourself and your participants when conducting research. Never put yourself in a situation where there is risk of personal danger, and if in doubt, speak with your educator or supervisor.