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O’Mathúna, D. P. (2019). Ethics and Integrity for Research in Disasters and Crises. In R. Iphofen (Ed.), Handbook of Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity (p. pp 1-18). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-76040-7_33-1


Disasters hit with increased frequency, sometimes leading to humanitarian crises. Some are acute, like earthquakes, while others are chronic, as with prolonged conflict. Decision-makers in disaster risk reduction and humanitarian responses are increasingly called upon to make evidence-based decisions. As a result, research in and on disasters and crises occurs frequently. The ethical issues with such research are complex, ranging from detailed questions about how to conduct specific types of research ethically to broader questions about whether research in certain situations should not be conducted at all for ethical reasons. This chapter will survey the ethical issues that are distinct or particularly challenging in disaster and crisis research. With acute crises, ethical challenges arise from their sudden onset and the narrow window of opportunity that researchers have to gather data. Participants in disaster and crisis research often have experienced many losses and vulnerabilities, raising concerns about their participation leading to unintended harms. Research in conflict and politically unstable situations may place participants and researchers in difficult circumstances. In some situations, researchers work in isolation leaving them with little other that their personal integrity to guide them in ethical dilemmas. The chapter will include practical guidelines for addressing research ethics and integrity in disasters and crises.