In recent years concerns over litigation and the trend towards close monitoring of academic activity has seen the effective hijacking of research ethics by university managers and bureaucrats. This can effectively curtail cutting edge research as perceived ‘safe’ research strategies are encouraged. However, ethics is about more than research governance. Ultimately, it seeks to avoid harm and to increase benefits to society. Rural development debate is fairly quiet on the question of ethics, leaving guidance to professional bodies. This study draws on empirical research that examined the lives of migrant communities in Northern Ireland. This context of increasingly diverse rural development actors provides a backdrop for the way in which the researcher navigates through ethical issues as they unfold in the field. The analysis seeks to relocate ethics from being an annoying bureaucratic requirement to one where it is inherent to rigorous and professional research and practice. It reveals how attention to professional ethics can contribute to effective, situated and reflexive practice, thus transforming ethics to become an asset to professional researchers.
- migration studies, rural destinations, integration