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Cutcliffe, J. R., & Ramcharan, P. (2002). Leveling the Playing Field? Exploring the Merits of the Ethics-as-Process Approach for Judging Qualitative Research Proposals. Qualitative Health Research, 12(7), 1000–1010.


There has been a recent growth in claims that qualitative research proposals are not treated equitably by ethics committees. In response, recent arguments centered on establishing the ethics of qualitative research, in the eyes of ethics committees, have indicated the need for an “ethics-as-process” approach. Accordingly, in this article, the authors illustrate the merits of this approach and provide three examples from the field: the outcomes of participating in qualitative interviews, sensitive handling of ending in qualitative research relationships, and the ongoing establishment of informed consent. The authors hope to increase awareness of the potential benefits of this approach and contribute to the ensuing debate.