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LIP October 2010

Topic     Discussion on Informed Consent, led by Yvonne Treis, La Trobe University Postdoctoral Fellow RCLT, and Katharine Parton (University of Melbourne).

Date      Tuesday 12th October

Time      7:00 pm

Venue    Upstairs room, Prince Alfred Hotel, ‪191 Grattan St, Carlton (corner of Bouverie St); ph ‪(03) 9347-3033‬‎
              Food and drinks available at the venue.

Contact  Ruth Singer if you have any questions <rsinger [AT]>



Motivated by a recent publication by Robinson (2010), the October LIP meeting will compare the issue of obtaining informed consent from people in non-literate communities (without access to modern media and internet) with that of obtaining informed consent from people in highly computer/internet-savvy communities.

Some of the issues we will discuss are:

  • What and how much information do participants need at what stage of the project in order to give informed consent?
  • How do we explain practically and adequately to non-literate communities what the goals of our project are and what will ultimately happen to records, transcripts and videos so that the participants in our projects are able to give informed consent?
  • How do we deal with mis-information, which can arise from having either/both under- and over-informed participants?

We are looking forward to a lively discussion of the practical issues of obtaining informed consent for linguistic projects in communities with different cultural, social, and technological backgrounds.


Background materials

An FAQ on informed consent summarises a recent discussion on the RNLD email list.

This page contains various policies and statements which the Australian Linguistic Society has developed or endorsed:

  • Linguistic rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • Statement of ethics for linguistic research
  • Guidelines for the use of language analysis in relation to questions of national origin in refugee cases

Readings (PDF downloads)

Austin, Peter K. 2010. Communities, ethics and rights in language documentation. In Peter K. Austin (ed.) Language Documentation and Description, vol. 7: 34-54. London: The Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project.

Grinevald, Colette. 2006. Worrying about ethics and wondering about "informed consent": Fieldwork from an Americanist perspective. In A. Saxena and L. Borin (eds.) Lesser known languages in South Asia: Status and policies, case studies and applications of information technology. TiLSM 175, 339-370, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Rice, Keren 2006. Ethical issues in linguistic fieldwork: An overview. Journal of Academic Ethics 4: 123-155.

Robinson, Laura C. 2010. Informed consent among analog people in a digital world. Language & Communication 30: 186-191.