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Any research must follow ethical principles, particularly when it involves people as participants and is likely to impact them. This is standard practice in academic research and a legal requirement in medical trials, but also applies to research carried out by Oxfam. Oxfam’s work focuses on vulnerable populations, and takes place under difficult circumstances. When research takes place in such vulnerable and fragile contexts, high ethical standards need to be met and tailored to the specific characteristics of each situation. 

Oxfam welcomes the adaptation of this guideline by other NGOs, community organizations and researchers working in fragile contexts and with vulnerable communities. The guideline should be read together with other relevant Oxfam and Oxfam GB policies and protocols, including the guidelines on Writing Terms of Reference for Research, Integrating Gender in Research Planning and Doing Research with Enumerators. A flowchart summarizing the guideline is also available to download on this page. 

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Author(s)/Editor(s). (Year of publication). Title and sub-title. Place of publication: name of publisher. DOI (where available). URL

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