Obtaining informed consent in non-Western contexts: reflections on fieldwork experiences in Zimbabwe

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Peer-Reviewed Research


English: Current ethics frameworks for regulating social science research seem to be based mainly on Western sociocultural traditions, arguably making it difficult for researchers in non-Western contexts to use them as ethics guides. Yet, these frameworks tend often to be used, un-adapted, as default ethics compasses to guide the conduct of research in non-Western contexts. In this article, the authors reflect on their experiences in obtaining informed consent for an educational research study in Zimbabwe using a Western-based ethics protocol. The experiences are reflectively interpreted in the context of literature with a view to suggesting some sensitive issues that need to be taken into account when seeking informed consent of research participants in non-Western contexts, particularly in Africa.