TREAD was formerly TEAR (The Ethics Application Repository) housed at the University of Otago and funded by a three year Marsden Grant Fund #U001125 from the Royal Society of New Zealand. TEAR was one attempt among a clutch of innovations to ease tensions with RECs. TEAR was established by Associate Professor Martin Tolich (Sociology, University of Otago) a former REC chair with ten years’ experience witnessing novice researchers stumble through RECs struggling with a clash of theory, methodology and ethical principles. In such cases ethical issues can become secondary to a form-filling exercise.
TREAD provides the opportunity to follow the step-by-step logic used by experienced researchers when negotiating their research design within vulnerable populations. How to be ethical in the field can be daunting. For example, how does a researcher write an auto-ethnographic REC application that involves their own children? How are junior high school aged children ethically enrolled in a photo voice project? Answers to these questions are not found in any textbook.
TREAD’s goal is to facilitate sound ethical practice by providing examples of how researchers have described the pathways used to protect their research subjects from harm. For example, guidelines on how to conduct research with children found on REC webpages are useful only up to a point. Reading multiple examples of research ethics committee and institutional review board applications can promote best practice by allowing researchers to compare and contrast their project with donated examples.
If you want to access TREAD please read the TREAD members code of practice first.
We welcome contributions from researchers around the globe. To contribute your ethics application documentation please click here.