The ASA Ethical Guidelines 2021
Although all research on human subjects and their social and cultural life raises ethical issues, those posed by anthropological studies are especially wide ranging and profound. The in-depth nature of the information produced by ethnographic research often presents ethical dilemmas, wherever anthropologists work. The ASA Ethical Guidelines 2021 responds to the need for many anthropologists to think through potential sources of ethical conflict and dilemmas that may arise in research, scholarship and professional practice. These Guidelines are not intended to be prescriptive but instead offer a view of current thinking in anthropology and act as a reference point to support the practice and conduct of anthropology as a discipline.
This 2021 version builds on the ASA Ethics Guidelines (2011) and were drafted by the ASA Ethical Guidelines Group (ASA EGG) from 2019-2020, assisted by members of the ASA Committee. To inform the work of the group, we conducted a survey of the ASA membership and interested others to learn more about their experiences of institutional ethics review and their views of the ASA guidelines. The findings indicated that the guidelines are most useful in educating non-specialists about ethnographic research (such as ethics committees, funders, etc.) and for training purposes.
For further reflection and training we have compiled some additional resources that include links to independent resources in key areas (e.g., consent, online research, etc.) and overviews of other core issues. This resource document will be updated as the ethical landscape continues to shift in response to societal and wider environmental changes. To support the preparation of submissions for institutional ethical review, EthNav helps researchers to make informed decisions about the design and practice of their work and stimulates further reflection about risks and possible unintended consequences in such circumstances.
The 2021 version of the ASA Ethical Guidelines is a living document, and members are asked to bring to the attention of the ASA Ethics Officer, Prof. Jude Robinson via ethics(a)theasa.org, any amendments that they would like to make to the guidelines, including links to websites or additional resources. Suggested amendments will be added annually to the Guidelines as Addenda, on approval at the annual ASA Annual General Meeting (AGM).