CBR Blog – February 2012

CBR Spotlight

The Pacific AIDS Network’s CBR Office now has a twitter account! Consider following us @PAN_CBR.

This venture into social media is another way that PAN will provide update about CBR projects we are involved with and share research-related resources with our members. If you or your organization have a twitter account we should be following, or any advice for us twitter neophytes, let us know!

CBR Musings – Trust, Clarity and Accountability

Many of you who have participated in our Fall CBR Workshop, Quarterly Meetings, and other CBR events have probably by now heard me speak of the importance of the soft side of research ethics – things like ‘trust’ and ‘relationship-building’. I label these things as ‘soft’ because they are things that cannot be measured or easily defined.  But don’t be fooled by that label. These soft issues can have a legacy that exists long past the active phase of a research project. Without these types of indefinable things in place, research projects cannot be successful.

It is hard to say what, exactly, constitutes trust in a research context. Everyone has a different set of expectations and experiences when they come to the research table. However, even if we cannot define trust, that does not mean we cannot recognize it in action. When relationships of trust are in place one of the frequent co-occurrences is a high degree of clarity and accountability with respect to roles, responsibilities and expectations. After all, how can we trust our partners to meet certain expectations if we do not have a clear idea of what those expectations are?

Bureaucracy and paperwork never fun, but the next time your research team rolls up their sleeves to work on a memorandum of understanding or a terms of reference, try not to groan or whine. Clarity and accountability, especially in the form of a written contract, can be a relationship-saver and is often the only recourse should trust ever break down.

As anyone who has ever lent money to a friend or family member can attest, it is best not to blindly believe someone who says, ‘Just trust me!’ without some kind of supporting paperwork in place.