Using the PREA Tool

The PREA Tool is designed to allow you to quickly and efficiently identify potential ethical issues with your research project and structure ethical discussions about those issues as they relate to your project. The Tool aims to both prompt users about various ethical issues you may need to reflect on given the characteristics of your research, and to provide selected resources to allow further learning or discussion on specific ethical issues. We see two main ways of using the Tool, although we hope users will develop their own approaches and provide us feedback on these. We want to learn from how you use the Tool.

A. The most straight-forward approach to using the PREA Tool is if you know the specific ethical issue you are interested in exploring. For example, you might be interested in "trust" or "confidentiality." In that case, enter the term in the Search box in the top right corner. This will give you a list of pages where the issue is discussed in the Tool and other resources outside the Tool which discuss the issue in detail. You can add these links to your My Project, or directly follow the links to the resources.

B. You can allow the Tool to lead you towards suggestions about ethical issues that you might want to explore. You select the characteristics of your study, and the Tool will prompt you to narrow in on specific ethical issues that you may want to explore further. You can then reflect on those issues yourself, or bring the ideas to your research team to facilitate discussions about how relevant these ethical issues are for your project, and how they might be addressed.

1. Start With a Domain

Domains are what we call the terms across the top of the Home page (e.g. Research Context, Population, Health Conditions, etc.). These are the broad areas within which different types of research can be classified, and that raise particular ethical issues. The easiest way to get started with the PREA Tool is to let it take you through a guided exploration of your topic. Start by indicating the domain that your research fits into and which for you raises ethical issues requiring further reflection. Note: any one research study will fit into several domains, so there are many ways to allow the PREA Tool to guide your exploration.

2. Indicate the Subdomains of Your Project

Having clicked on a domain, the PREA tool uses drop-down menus to prompt you about a number of subdomains which may or may not be relevant for your project. Subdomains are specific examples of what that the domain is addressed in a study. For example, the domain Population contains subdomains like Children, Disabled, Women, etc. Select whichever of these subdomains you are most interested in considering. Your project may involve several, and you can use the My Project feature to collect resources on different subdomains of your project. Based on the domain you are exploring, you can ask yourself different questions. Will your project involve obtaining personal and identifiable information? Will your project be conducted in a refugee camp setting? Will your participants include women and children? Will you be conducting a clinical trial, or qualitative interviews? Will your project be conducted after an earthquake, or during an epidemic? The answers to questions like this will identify relevant subdomains. Select one that involves the ethical issues you are most interested in exploring further.

3. Select the Features of Your Project

Having selected a subdomain, you will be provided with a list of Features which may or may not be relevant to the ethics of your project. For example, if you selected the subdomain of Earthquake, you will then be asked to select from a list of Features that you may want to explore further. Select all the features that are relevent to your project and click Submit.

4. Explore Issues and Add or Remove From Your Project

The PREA tool will suggest a number of issues that have particular ethical dimensions that you should consider as you develop your project. A short discussion about why each of these issues raises ethical issues is provided on this page. If you think this issue warrants further exploration click on the Issue and the link will take you to a page with more information on the issue. On the other hand, if you believe the issue is not relevant to your project, you can tick the box beside the issue and then click on Delete to remove the issue from My Project.

5. Link to Further Resources on the Ethical Issues

Having clicked on the Issue link, this will take you to a fuller description of the ethical dimensions of the issue, as well as suggestions for further resources on the issue. These are significant resources which the PREA project identified. We have endeavoured to select only resources that are freely available, although in some cases we linked to resources that require payment if they were particularly significant and other resources were not available.

6. Save My Project and Share it with Others

As you develop your your project the PREA Tool will generate a unique identifier (UUID) for your project. The Tool calls this My Project. The UUID is his is found at the bottom of each page to the left of a blue box stating "Copy URL to Clipboard." This is a randomly generated URL which contains no personal information about you or your search. It is unique and allows you to return to your project explorations within the PREA Tool or to share your project with your collaborators so they can also explore the ethics of your project with you. You should copy this URL and save it offline somewhere you can retrieve if whenever you want to return to your explorations as this URL never expires. Note: the PREA Tool collects no identifiable information about users or their projects. (Please see our privacy policy for further details.)
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