Unsettling Research Ethics

ethics matters
examining ethical issues in equity-oriented collaborative community-based research
Unsettling Research Ethics


A central mission of CCREC has been to support community-driven, justice-oriented research. At the same time, CCREC supports critical analyses of these very modes of research and the complex ethical questions they raise for community-university collaborations specifically and for social science research more broadly. With the support of two major grants from the Spencer Foundation, the CCREC ethics project has focused on the ethical and epistemic complexities and intersections of justice-oriented social science research, and how these illuminate issues at the nexus of philosophy, research policy, and practice.

Teaching and Learning

The CCREC ethics team is preparing a book entitled Unsettling Research Ethics. This distinctive pedagogical resource, designed for new researchers and community research teams, is a collection of empirical case studies and historical examples that aims to illuminate the complex ethical dimensions of justice-oriented collaborative and social science research. The research team gathered, coded, and analyzed several dozen in-depth interviews with researchers and community partners involved in collaborative projects about their lived ethical experiences in those projects. These interviews inform our case writing, philosophical analysis, and pedagogical guidance. 

In 2016 the CCREC ethics team will offer ethics training courses at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting in Washington DC, and at the Community-Engaged Research Institute in collaboration with the Everett Program, Center for Labor Studies, and Blum Center at UC Santa Cruz. 


This project has resulted in several journal publications, including "Comparing Ethical and Epistemic Standards for Investigative Journalists and Equity-Oriented Collaborative Community-Based Researchers: Why Working for a University Matters" in the Journal of Higher Education and "Ethical and Epistemic Dilemmas in Empiricially-Engaged Philosophy of Education" in Studies in Philosophy of Education.

Members of the CCREC ethics project are also working on a scholarly book that formulates an integrated philosophic response to ethical quandaries in community-based research, as well as a series of policy briefs aimed at augmenting codes of ethics of major social science professional associations to reflect ethical issues that emerge in collaborative approaches to social sciences research. 

The CCREC ethics team has presented numerous refereed paper presentations and panels at the annual meetings of the American Educational Research Association, the Action Research Network of the Americas, the American Anthropological Association, the American Association of Geographers, the Philosophy of Education Society, and the Association of Practical and Professional Ethics. We have also participated in the Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable and the Northeastern University Ethics Institute Workshop on the Frontiers of Informed Consent. 


In February 2016, the CCREC ethics project convened fifty leading community activist-scholars for two days of in-depth discussion about collaborative reseach ethics praxis, pedagogy, and policy. This highly interactive and interdisciplinary experience invited participants to dwell together with/in the ethics of knowledge, the ethics of relationality, and the ethics of space and time. These three frames intersect and form the CCREC ethics project's conceptual framework for rethinking research ethics praxis. 

CCREC will continue to play a leading role nationally and internationally in the development of grounded ethical policy and pedagogy for equity-oriented, collaborative, community-based research. We are committed to supporting the ethical formation of a new generation of engaged scholars and research-informed community activists and policy makers.

To learn more about CCREC ethics project, contact Natalie Baloy at nbaloy@ucsc.edu.