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Ethical issues in disaster research: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina

by Carrie Y. Barron Ausbrooks, Edith J. Barrett, Maria Martinez-Cosio
Population Research and Policy Review ()

Abstract

Conducting research in the wake of a catastrophic event imposes the dual responsibilities on researchers of protecting the rights of the survivors as research subjects, while also ensuring research quality and the dissemination and application of findings. This article, based partially on the authors’ experiences of conducting research in school districts following Hurricane Katrina, examines the ethical issues that arise when working with survivors, reticent organizations, and institutional review boards. Challenges experienced by researchers concerning access, informed consent, confidentiality, subject compensation, and enlisting the assistance of stressed institutions are described.

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