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Don't Just Widen One Lens; Instead Use Many: A Response to Cerulli, Conte, Cromer and Newman, and Mulla and Hlavka

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 17 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2011 Pages: 1549-1558
Robert Walker; James J. Clark
Date Published
December 2011
10 pages
This study examined research ethics in studies of violence against women.
This paper responds to the commentaries offered by Mulla and Hlavka, Conte, Cerulli, and Cromer and Newman. The authors reflect on their differing points of view, attempt clarifications, and then re-state their central concern in regard to research ethics in studies of violence against women. The authors think that IRB-oriented approaches suffer from too much rule adherence, too much focus on doing things the right way and too little attention to the larger ethical question of to how figure out the right things to do. The authors continue to raise concern about inept research as potentially damaging to a class of persons, not to the specific subjects of any particular study. Thus, the authors see not just a matter of poor design, mishandling of analyses, or even of clumsy inferences from the data in some research; these errors are correctible by better training and review. But these errors also have the potential for misleading the public and policymakers and thus suggest ethical dimensions to clumsy work. The authors conclude by proposing use of wide reflective equilibrium as a way of entering into deeper dialogue about the complex ethical issues surrounding this field of research. Hopefully, one can move beyond mere rule compliance to seriously considering the end effects of this science. (Published Abstract)