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ERIC Number: EJ908713
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1077-8004
Power, Ethics, and the IRB: Dissonance over Human Participant Review of Participatory Research
Boser, Susan
Qualitative Inquiry, v13 n8 p1060-1074 Nov 2007
Participatory research operates in a complex, dynamic social milieu and seeks to share the power inherent in knowledge generation with community partners. Institutional review boards (IRBs), however, typically operate from a framework that assumes asymmetrical power relations, hierarchically structured. This article argues that these differing assumptions regarding power contribute to the challenges participatory researchers experience in obtaining IRB approval. Furthermore, the application of the conventional IRB framework in reviewing the ethics of participatory inquiry can itself harm human participants in such projects by limiting the participants' field of choices. This article addresses these challenges, presenting a framework that draws on the literature on power to consider the ethical questions involved in participatory research partnerships. It also describes some ways in which power imbalance might manifest within a participatory research project, and between a project and an IRB, and offers specific strategies for addressing this.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A