A crucial decision-making skill for health researchers during community research.
Minrie Greeff and Stuart Rennie.
Published 2016 May 26 in The Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics.
Health researchers conducting research in the community are often faced with unanticipated ethical issues that arise in the course of their research and that go beyond the scope of ethical approval by the research ethics committee. Eight expert researchers were selected through extreme intensity purposive sampling, because they are representative of unusual manifestations of the phenomenon related to their research in the community. They were selected to take part in a semi-structured focus group discussion on whether practical wisdom (phronesis) is used as a decision-making skill to solve unanticipated ethical issues during research in the community. Although the researchers were not familiar with the concept phronesis, it became obvious that it formed an integral part of their everyday existence and decision making during intervention research. They could balance research ethics with practical considerations. The capacity of practical wisdom as a crucial decision-making skill should be assimilated into a researcher’s everyday reality, and also into the process of mentoring young researchers to become phronimos. Researchers should be taught this skill to handle unanticipated ethical issues.