Is it ethical to conduct this research study? What will you do next?
- What would make it fair?
- Informed consent, benefits the people, benefits outweigh risks
- Why would it not be fair?
- Payment for time
- How do you decide who gets paid and when they get paid? And in what format?
- After your findings, you don’t do anything to address the problem
- Payment for time
Step 1—What do we know:
- There is a disease-causing pathogen in the water
- Chemical additives can make the water safe
- You are in a developing setting
- You need many people involved in your research
- We are interested in where they store water and where they get it from
- Community members
- Government of Lesotho
- Grant funder
- Healthcare providers
- The need to make a difference
- Professional pressure
- Love of science
- Personal tie to the country of Lesotho
For Point Community Members:
- Their own health
- Willingness to work with a foreigner
- Contributing to the greater understanding of science
- Sell copies/money
For Government of Lesotho:
- Public safety
- Tax payer money
- Good foreign relationships
For Grant Funder:
- Money is well spent
- Good record
- Remain reputable
For Healthcare Providers:
- More medical knowledge
- Better treat/care for community members
Step 4—three solutions
Solution 1 – Pay the community members for their time and fuel (in cold hard cash $$$$$)
- Ethical principle/code – duty-based
- Pros – good relations, engaging with the community, relationship-building
- Cons – costly, spending unnecessary money (?), difficulty in ensuring fairness in pay (could lead to future complications), may need to pay everyone every time for everything, how do you compensate?
Solution 2—Compensate community members in means other than cold hard cash (ex: food or dinner)
- Ethical principle/code – virtue-based
- Pros – save money but still give feeling of reward for their time, easier to decipher (no raw statistical calculation)
- Cons – anything other than money means nothing, food allergies, no calculation so how do you know you’re being fair
Solution 3 – Don’t pay or compensate for anything
- Ethical principle – consequence-based
- Pros – get the job done with expending as little resources as possible, maximize the grant money, allocate funds for other priorities/expenses
- Cons – risk alienating the people you need most, people pissed off and backfiring, bad reputation, people not accommodating for your research needs because of lack of compensation
Step 5— We all have a personal experience in Sierra Leone where the people we worked with were compensated with money. This seemed to work well and people were happy to work with us.
Step 6 – Pay community members with money $$$$$$ for their time, knowledge and fuel with clear boundaries/contracts for terms and conditions of the amount of pay
- We chose this because our research team values quality data. Our main reason for traveling so far is to obtain great data and therefore we cannot risk or work with people who are uncooperative.
- 1ststep: Determining the average pay of community members in the workforce
- This will help us calculate hourly time spent or how much we should pay someone for a task
- 2ndstep: Mileage, wear and tear of car and determining rates based on what people currently pay
Step 7— Paying people will hopefully cause community members to prioritize our work. However, now they may have the assumption that foreigners who come to their country will always pay them for their time/knowledge. To prevent this from happening, we need to make it clear with people about our intentions and reasoning for paying. We also will choose the people that we work with wisely by involving stakeholders (ex: ministry of health) who can provide us with a list of point contacts that they feel are trustworthy and diligent.