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Towards an Ọmọlúàbí code of research ethics: Applying a situated, participant-centred virtue ethics framework to fieldwork with disadvantaged populations in diverse cultural settings

Bukola Oyinloye

2021 Nigeria, Africa

This paper presents a participant-centred virtue ethics approach, the mlúàbí moral-ethical framework, which moves beyond researcher-centred reflexivity to incorporate participants’ moral virtues within a broader research ethics framework. It demonstrates a methodical application of the framework during research with rural Yorùbá communities in North central Nigeria through the principles of continuity; adherence to local and national processes; adaptation to local ways of being and doing; and provision of tangible benefit. After proposing a conceptual approach for participant-centred ethics, the paper explores the tensions and complexities that may occur when attempting to reconcile diverse ethical traditions and provides practical suggestions for researchers who wish to conduct moral and ethical fieldwork in similar contexts. Ultimately, the paper argues for an integration of participants’ values and virtues within research ethics in order to affirm diverse ethical and intellectual traditions.