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The papers in this Special Issue are all concerned? in one way or another? with the relationship between the ethical and the empirical. They are? in particular? concerned with exploring the role of ethical concepts such as informed consent? and of ethical review by research ethics committees? in empirical social science research in medicine. While most of the other authors provide accounts of the ways in which ethical issues have arisen in their own empirical research? this paper aims to complement these empirically oriented approaches with a theoretically driven consideration of the relationship between ethical and empirical methods. (Kopytoff, pp. 28, 1986)

The motivation for this paper is nevertheless grounded in an attempt to understand the relationship between the ethical and the empirical in my own research? most notably in an on-going ethico-ethnographic research project? The Genethics Club? which investigates the enactment of ethics in clinical genetics practice. Whilst I shall not say much about this research here at the outset? I return to it in the latter part of the paper and? in the light of the preceding discussion? use it to illustrate the implications of my arguments for research practice. (Meskell, pp. 69, 2005)

The paper falls into three main parts. In the first I consider calls for what has come to be known as empirical ethics? that is? for a more empirically informed bioethics? by way of an exploration of the integration of ethnographic methods in bioethics. In it I argue that approaches which see the ethical and the empirical as 'complementary' (Mol, pp. 55, 2002) do not do justice to the methodological implications of enfolding the ethical and the ethnographic. In the second part I consider calls for the integration of ethics in ethnography and? similarly? argue that the enfolding of the ethical and the empirical in ethnography calls for the development of new methods. In the paper's third section I consider the implications of these arguments for research practice. (Appadurai, p. 187, 1986,)

Origins of Ethnographic Methodology

In the second chapter of the text ethnography of Martin Hammersley and Paul Atkinson, these authors refer to a conversation between Nader and Kluckhohn. In this, he first asked the second for some advice for the completion of fieldwork, against which responded by noting that Kluckhohn, Alfred Kroeber had been raised to a graduate student at the same question, by taking from a shelf ethnography thickness larger and said "go and do it well." (Murphy, pp. 66, 2007) The problem illustrates the reference to this "discouraging" advice related to the widespread idea that ethnography is based on a simple description of reality under study, where data collection can be done as he collects the best examples of a flower in a huge field. (Ashcroft, p. 187, 2007,)

The idea of simplicity that embodies its implementation has been extended both to anthropology and its neighboring disciplines, besides simplicity reduced to a mere description, the approval to the exclusion of other participant-observation techniques - by putting it as part of a "supposed" paradigm or qualitative ...
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