“Informed Consent is a voluntary agreement to participate in research. It is not merely a form that is signed, but a process in which the subject has an understanding of the research and its risks.” (Source).
ASYFAIR involves ethnographic observations of asylum appeal hearings, an online survey, and interviews with professionals, volunteers, court staff and asylum appellants. As all academic studies in involving human beings, the ASYFAIR research team completed rigorous ethical checks, and all research activities are carried out according to the ethical guidelines set by professional standards and checked by the European Research Council and the University of Exeter.
ASYFAIR team members are experienced researchers, who received rigorous training in research methods and ethical standards in research.
We are committed to obtain informed consent from our research participants before research is taking place. However, during court ethnographies that is not always possible or appropriate. ASYFAIR advises all courts prior to fieldwork, as well as some government authorities where appropriate. Research team members are handing out information sheets and brochures to court attendees where appropriate. When attending hearings, the researchers follow the usual rules of conduct for visitors attending judicial hearing, and leave hearings if judges, appellants and other participants wish us to do so. ASYFAIR researchers behave discreetly and unobtrusively, and we will not record any information that is not available in public hearings and in the public domain.
ASYFAIR interviewers always obtain informed consent from our research participants before the interview is taking place. The interviewer hands out a detailed interview information sheet, as well as a consent form before the interview. The interviewer discusses data collection and data protection with the interviewee before the interview, and responds to potential questions and concerns of the interviewee. The interview only takes place if the interviewee consents (via the consent form).
Withdrawal of participation
Research participants can withdraw from the study at any point without providing a reason, and the research team will respect their decision. There are absolutely no penalties for withdrawing from the study.
If participants want to withdraw, they can tell us in person during the course of the observation or interview, or they can contact us later in various ways: by emailing the researchers or by filling in this form on our website, by emailing the ethics officer at the researchers’ home institution (firstname.lastname@example.org), by post or by telephoning us (click here for our contact details).