Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Proposal: Ethics and Approval

Statement of Ethical Practice
      1.      Confidentiality: All living informants will be asked to fill out a consent form which would indicate whether they wanted their knowledge or views to be kept confidential.  For the sake of not plagiarizing, the ideas my living informants share with me that did not originate with me, but in fact were their own original ideas, will be attributed to them unless they should indicate wanting otherwise on their consent form.  Regardless of this, however, their information will not be published in any raw format, if it is used it will be presented as a part of my final product and only I and possibly my mentor will have access to my field notes where I recorded their thoughts and ideas.  Because none of the information they share will be of a confidential nature, I will not be destroying the notes I take.

      2.      Obtain informed consent without coercion: I will inform my living informants about my research, and ask them if they mind speaking with me about their knowledge concerning the African American expatriates who came to France during the 1920s and 1930s.  I will also ask them about their understanding of French Jazz, and where it came from.  After informing them, and asking for verbal consent, I will obtain written consent--a form in French giving me permission to take informal notes on their ideas and knowledge.  Furthermore, if my informant seems upset, distressed, or frustrated by the interview, the information they hold, while valuable, is not more valuable to me than their comfort in speaking with me about the subject, and I will thank my informants and end the interview.

      3.      Minimize risk and maximize benefit: There are minimal risks related to the participants of this study, as I will not require any confidential information of them, ask them about any sensitive subjects, and am not targeting any particularly vulnerable populations.  Furthermore, I do not expect any emotion  or psychological distress in this study.  As one main aspect of my research is to become acquainted with Paris and its areas, however, one potential risk is my safety.  I plan to offset this risk by doing thorough and extensive research of the parts of Paris I plan to visit to determine whether I should be accompanied by another, should avoid the district altogether, or go at certain times of day.  There are certainly certain areas of Paris I plan to avoid altogether, and will always visit districts in Paris with some direction, intent or purpose to minimize risk to myself, or to others.  While there are no direct benefits to research subjects, either the deceased or the living informants, I do hope that this study will give credence to a marginalized area of study within the field of American Studies.  Though my study can make no large or significant difference within my field, I hope it will be a stepping stone to an understanding I hold of the American Experience, but particularly the American Experience abroad.

Human Subjects (IRB) approval

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