“Like a Sheriff in a Small Town”: Status, Roles, and Challenges of Ethics Committees in Academic Colleges of Education

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In recent years, Research Ethics Committees in academic colleges of education have constituted to review research proposals in the field of education. Yet, little is known about their work, composition, challenges, and relationships with external partners. This study explores the views and attitudes of 13 members and chairpersons of Research Ethics Committees in colleges of education in Israel, and two policy makers at the Ministry of Education about their roles, responsibilities, challenges, and limitations. Findings revealed an instrumental attitude towards the ethics committee. Committees are perceived as supportive rather than enforcing. Interviews shed light on the complex relationships between committee members, college lecturers/researchers, ethics regulators, and academic management. Moreover, the findings emphasized the lack of formal training and broad discussion on ethics. The study calls for strengthening committees’ raison d'être and the internalization of ethics among committee members, researchers, and lecturers in the field of education.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the MOFET Institute (grant number MOFET research grant [approval #RB021IC 15/11/2017]).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • academic colleges of education
  • education
  • educational research
  • higher education
  • Institutional Review Boards
  • Israel
  • research ethics
  • Research Ethics Committees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Communication


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