Ethics and Research

Welcome to the ethics and research resource site.

Taking part in research can be a good and valuable experience. We want to help you stay informed on the topics of research, research ethics and participation in research. This site provides resources for those wanting to know more about research and research ethics involving Inuit in Canada. In support of informed and respectful research and to provide community members with clear and concise information on research ethics, this site offers products like fact sheets and posters, as well as presentations and links to guidelines and organizations.

Participating in Research

Many organizations and people conduct research for many different reasons. Research is done to build knowledge about a particular question and learn what problems might be affecting peoples’ health, for example.

Participation in the research process is a topic that has been widely discussed among researchers and others since the 1980s. Much of this discussion was about what it means to be a participant or partner in a research project and how to best respect each others’ knowledge. These discussions helped to shape different types of research, such as participatory action research, and also resulted in the development of research guidelines.

What are Ethics?

Ethics is a term that captures the values of society that tell us how to behave appropriately and treat each other with respect. Ethical research means that researchers understand and respect that Inuit have their own protocols for behavior. Ethical standards and requirements are set out in documents called ‘guidelines’, ‘protocols’ or ‘codes’. Researchers must follow guidelines to make sure their work is honourable and respectful (ethical).

To conduct research in Inuit regions, the “Principal Investigator” (the lead researcher) of a research project needs permission from regional authorities and committees. In each of the four Inuit regions (Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut), the rules and regulations are different. (see Permits Page)

Nipingit: National Inuit Committee on Ethics and Research
Research and research ethics are the key focus of Nipingit, the National Inuit Committee on Ethics and Research.

Nipingit is a joint program of the Inuit Tuttarvingat of the National Aboriginal Health Organization and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

Resources and Presentations

Inuit Tuttarvingat of NAHO is committed to facilitating the collaborative process to provide input to health and environment research in the Canadian Arctic and to improve and enhance networking and knowledge translation. In collaboration with regional and national Inuit organizations, an advisory group was formed in 2008, to discuss research ethics protocols and develop informative materials on research ethics.

The work of this committee, named Inuit Nipingit – National Inuit Committee on Ethics and Research, has been summarized in this poster presentation prepared in 2010: Inuit-Specific Perspectives on Research and Research Ethics

On June 19, 2010, Inuit Tuttarvingat participated on the “Ethics Panel“ chaired by Marlene Brant-Castellano at the Celebrating Indigenous Knowledges Conference. At the conference, Trent University celebrated the 10th anniversary of the university’s PhD program in Indigenous Studies. Five panel members covered the diverse fields of research ethics in Canada and provided information on current ethics initiatives and recent developments, including activities by Canada’s grant agencies concerning research involving Aboriginal peoples. Inuit Tuttarvingat presented on its activities carried out under the direction of the Inuit Nipingit – National Inuit Committee on Ethics and Research and highlighted its products intended for use by Inuit communities, including fact sheets and posters.

See the Ethics Panel presentation >

Under the guidance of this advisory group, we produced the Career as a Research – Poster Series and prepared nine fact sheets in the Research and Research Ethics Fact Sheet Series.

Our Research and Research Ethics Fact Sheet Series serve as a reference for research participants on a variety of topics. Fact sheet #1, for example, is about research and researchers in general, fact sheet # 3 on consent and #8 on permits and licences in Inuit regions.

The Career as a Researcher – Poster Series contains a general poster “Research and Research Ethics” which points to the resource Web site for further information. In addition, there are three posters specifically designed to encourage Inuit youth to consider research as a career option. Each poster was produced in partnership with an Inuit organization. All posters are designed for easy reproduction.