Monday, October 15, 2012


I recently got ethical approval from the University of Waikato Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee.  The process involved writing quite a long document to demonstrate that I have enough understanding and sensitivity not to endanger anyone in the course of my research.  It gave me many good opportunities to think about my research and clarify my objectives and resolve some childhood issues to boot.  Anyway.  Part of the ethical process I am going to follow is to write a blog post about ethics (this one).

If you want to know more about the ethics of my PhD research you can contact me using the form below or my email (confustulation (at) gmail (dot) com), alternately you can contact my supervisors: Dr Tom Ryan, email: tryan (at) or Dr Kellie McNeill, email: k.mcneill (at)

For general information about my research you can read my handy-dandy information sheet:

Shared Lunch: An Ethnography of Food Sovereignty in Whaingaroa and Beyond

Researcher: Isa Ritchie

General Information Sheet

I am currently undertaking a PhD in Anthropology looking at food sovereignty in Whaingaroa and wider New Zealand.  I want to look at grass-roots community-based initiatives that are involved in growing food or redistributing food that would otherwise be wasted, and to investigate how these might relate to the global food sovereignty movement.  I want to look at things such as food foraging, sustainable farming, community gardening, land sharing and wwoofing.

My research involves participating, observing and getting involved with community food-based activities.  I will try to actively help out and not just get in the way.  In doing this I hope to get a really good understanding of what’s going on.  I will also interview people who are involved in these activities to find out more about their thoughts and values.  I will then link this with what I am reading about food sovereignty on a global level. I am doing this research because there is not very much academic literature around this topic at the moment, particularly New Zealand based literature and I think it’s an important topic.

No one is paying for this research but I do have a scholarship from the University of Waikato to help me to do it.  The participants involved in this research may just be doing what they were already doing while I participate and observe; they may casually tell me things they want to tell me or they may sit down with me and answer questions for an hour or so.  All of this is voluntary.  Even if you know me outside of this research please feel no obligation to participate.  Participants decide their own level of involvement.  I want people to participate in this research only if they want to do it.

This research will be published as my thesis, copies will be held at the University of Waikato library, by the Anthropology department, and by me.  A digital copy will also be accessible online.  I hope that this research will lead to formal publications and that information about this can be widely disseminated to inspire other communities.  I am also open to co-creating future publications and presentations with participants if they are interested.  I will also present findings in an appropriate form to the Whaingaroa community.

This research project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Any questions about the ethical conduct of this research may be sent to the Secretary of the Committee, email, postal address, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Te Kura Kete Aronui, University of Waikato, Te Whare Wananga o Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240.

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