Currently, much social research does not include minority ethnic people and communities and does not engage meaningfully with issues of ethnic diversity and inequality. Where research does address ethnicity, there is a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches, as well as concerns regarding ethical standards. Increasing the quality and quantity of social research that addresses ethnicity will require particular knowledge, skills and competencies among researchers and research commissioners, as well as a commitment to ethical and scientific rigour in such work. The overall aim of the present project was to explore the feasibility and desirability of developing guidance at different points within the research cycle that could help commissioners of research, investigators, applicants and peer reviewers consider when and how ethnicity should be included in social policy relevant research projects. In order to achieve this aim, the project involved a series of review, consultation and piloting exercises through which we were able to (i) synthesise key ethical and scientific issues relating to ethnicity in social research; (ii) explore current concerns and practices among social researchers; and (iii) identify factors that support or hinder the use and impact of guidance on research practice.
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