Principal Ethical Issues for Research with Vulnerable Population During the COVID-19 Endemic

  • Kanwar Hamza Shuja Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Zainab Shafqat Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna St, Wolverhampton WV1 1LY, United Kingdom
  • Dania Amjad Department of Psychology, University of Central Punjab, Khayaban-e-Jinnah Road, Johar Town, Lahore. Postcode 54782, Pakistan
  • Shazia Tariq National Institute of Psychology (NIP), Quaid-I-Azam University (New Campus), Postcode 45320, Shahdra Road (off Main Murree Road), Islamabad, PAKISTAN.
  • Priscilla Ubi MBBS, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, P.M.B. 2346, Sokoto. Sokoto Nigeria. Postal code 840.
Keywords: COVID-19, ethical issues, conducting researches, vulnerable population, mental health issues, suicidal, self-harm


Background: Since the very beginning of COVID-19 pandemic, the researcher community is working day and night gathering data, writing articles to aware the general public of the various issues associated with the pandemic. However, in pursue of delivering fast and quick information to the public, in some cases ethical considerations were not properly applied. In pandemic situation the ethical considerations are more important to follow, which the current research tries to highlight.

Methods: A narrative review of previous pandemics and the ethical guidelines provided by WHO, CIOMS and other literature was studied. Based on the literature and current guidelines the research has recommended few ethical principles to follow while conducting researches during pandemic.

Results: The present study has underlined several of key recommendations which have been used in previous pandemic situations with vulnerable populations such as; that of mental health, self-harm and suicidal populations. Similarly, the study has also advised using diverse range of methods and techniques to help the participants feel emotionally and mentally relaxed during and after research.

Conclusions: Though it is important in this time of crisis to conduct researches, it is equally important to safe guard the participants mentally and physically, especially those who come under vulnerable populations. The present review has tried emphasizing certain methods which can be helpful in achieving desired goals while protecting the participants.



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