The Post-Research Ethics Analysis (PREA) is proposed as a framework for good ethical practice in health research in humanitarian crises.
Recent years have witnessed an unprecedented rise of global humanitarian crises, including conflicts, tsunamis, and pandemics. The ability to monitor and audit the research process occurring in these contexts is becoming important for handling increasingly complex humanitarian crises that require rapid response.
Conducting health research in humanitarian crises poses numerous ethical challenges. However, a coherent post-research strategy to document researcher experiences as a framework of lesson learning, knowledge sharing and continuity of ethical oversight is not available.
To conduct responsive and responsible research in these settings it is important to have a framework to promote knowledge sharing on common challenges and supportive strategies for ethical research conduct (e.g. informed consent), complementing existing resources. Information generated through on-the-ground experiences gathered in an online knowledge and resource repository will enable researchers to pre-empt potential field issues.
The Post-Research Ethics Analysis (PREA) (website) is proposed as a framework for good ethical practice during health research in humanitarian crises. We aim to develop and establish a methodological framework, and build a knowledge/resource repository to address discrepancies between ethical theory/guidelines and research practice, and document researcher experiences.
The PREA framework will provide ethics committees with a pragmatic tool to receive detailed feedback on ethical challenges
The PREA framework will provide ethics committees with a pragmatic tool to receive detailed feedback on ethical challenges during health research in humanitarian crises after initial ethical clearance is granted. The PREA mechanism will be easily implementable by ethics committees themselves, as it requires minimal resource allocation. The knowledge gained through application of the tool can be shared within local, regional and international ethical bodies, enabling wider dissemination of culture, country, or region-specific ethical challenges.
Aims and Outcomes
Developing the PREA tool by using empirical data
There is a wide gap in terms of strategy for post research ethics analysis and with the creation of the PREA tool this gap will be fulfilled as well as to facilitate reflexive exploration of ethical challenges. This tool will also be created in English yet be translated for other non English speaking countries.
Establishing an algorithm for researchers and stakeholders such as governments and advocacy bodies and developing a guide on how to use the tool
One key theme of this study is to enhance current and strengthen existing evidence on ethical practices as this improves good ethical practice. The locations that will be used in this study is South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Nepal and Afghanistan. These locations were chosen due to their humanitarian crisis, the differences in crisis and the longevity.
Gathering empirical data from researchers, ERC’s and stakeholders on the ethical challenges of humanitarian research
The main question that will be investigated is the coherence between ethical issues in anticipated data compared to ethical issues when research is conducted. This data will be gathered from past and present research in a humanitarian crisis locations and with evaluating this data the findings of this research will be made available on a open internet platform so that it is easily accessible.
Follow the Twitter account of the PREA project here.