Research ethics review: social care and social science research and the Mental Capacity Act 2005

This source preferred by Jonathan Parker

Authors: Parker, J., Penhale, B. and Stanley, D.

Journal: Ethics and Social Welfare

Volume: 5

Pages: 380-400

ISSN: 1749-6535

DOI: 10.1080/17496535.2011.594448

Aims This paper considered concerns that social care research may be stifled by health-focussed ethical scrutiny under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the requirement for an ‘appropriate body’ to determine ethical approval for research involving people who are deemed to lack capacity under the Act to make decisions concerning their participation. Methods The current study comprised an on-line survey of current practice in University Research Ethics Committees (RECs), and explored through interviews the views of social researchers engaged in or exploring work concerning people who may, under the Act, lack the capacity to make decisions to consent in a research programme.

Results and conclusions There was a lack of overt knowledge of and reference to the implications of the Act for research and some concerns that a restrictive focus on health-related scrutiny might prevent social care research from taking place. There was also a degree of creativity shown by social care researchers in responding to changing demands and a wish to assist people in making decisions to participate where possible.

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