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Burr, J., & Reynolds, P. (2010). The Wrong Paradigm? Social Research and the Predicates of Ethical Scrutiny. Research Ethics, 6(4), 128–133. https://doi.org/10.1177/174701611000600404


We aim, in this paper, to discuss how far the ethical framework for assessing medical research, generalized into other institutional settings, is also appropriate for social science research, particularly qualitative research. Recently, researchers have raised concerns about ‘ethics creep’, incompatibility with participatory methodologies and the exclusion of service users. Researchers are increasingly raising questions as to whether the processes of governance and the paradigmatic assumptions pervading research ethics committees are fit for purpose when they deliberate on non-clinical research that uses social science methods. We review whether ethical scrutiny by research ethics committees is asking the wrong questions and holding research to the wrong standards.