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The gap between theoretical expectations of research ethics as outlined in the bureaucratic processes associated with University Ethics Committees and the situated realities of students undertaking studies within their own sociocultural contexts is explored in this paper. In particular, the authors investigate differences in ethical norms and practices by providing ‘subaltern’ voices from the field, as three of the authors narrate their experiences during their doctoral field work that led them to challenge the validity of ethics review processes in institutions at the Centre when undertaking research at the periphery. The field work experiences produced unavoidable tensions as the students attempted to construct the hybridity required when working within transnational contexts of higher education. The paper concludes with some advice to students and advisors and members of Ethics Review Committees to encourage the destabilization of essentialist assumptions often made in Eurocentric research designs.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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