The Ethics Project is a nationally-funded (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) research project investigating ethical issues related to sex work and health research. This research project is based in Vancouver, British Columbia with Principal Investigator Dr. Vicky Bungay, University of British Columbia School of Nursing. The investigative team includes Lauren Casey, Scott Comber, Adrian Guta, Eli Manning, and Colleen Varcoe with Research Assistant Will Pearson. This team of researchers comes from a variety of disciplines and has experience in sex work and health research, community-based research projects, and direct service to sex workers.
Sex work research has drawn many researchers from a wide range of fields to investigate different aspects of the industry. Every research project brings its own ethical issues with it and its own way of addressing those issues. Concerns regarding confidentiality and privacy, respectful interactions with sex workers, and meaningful community involvement are some of the ethical concerns that arise.
The aim of The Ethics Project is to examine ethical issues currently experienced and how such issues are navigated and/or prevented. Through our project we hope to generate evidence that can improve research ethics in practice. Ultimately, we hope to generate recommendations that can help improve training in research ethics and the uptake of ethical research practices to foster more meaningful relationships with sex workers and their organizations and networks. Our activities include an analysis of current health research funding in Canada in the field of sex work and health; qualitative interviews with people involved in research including researchers, participants, and community organizations; and an analysis of documents used by organizations to foster ethical research practices.
The main study findings will be shared through community reports and forums, published in academic journal articles, and be made available for public download. We intend to collaborate with our advisory committee, made up of sex workers and sex worker organization and network members, about the best ways to share the outcomes. We also anticipate sharing our results with other academics in presentations at relevant research conferences.
It is our hope that the results from this project will be used to inform guidelines and resources meant to advise research in gender, sexuality, health, and sex work throughout Canada.
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