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Using critical reflection in public health research: Identifying and mitigating emotional harms

Vijayaprasad Gopichandran

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2020.015


Abstract

Malu Mohan has described the distress faced by the researcher who attempted to study the practice preparedness of recent graduates of a stream of clinical practice through critically reflective diary entries. The graduates realised that they were grossly underprepared for competent and independent clinical practice. The researcher’s distress arises from the dilemma as to whether she has precipitated a sense of “incompetence” and “hopelessness” among the fresh graduates, causing unintended harm. It is commendable that the researcher has introspected seriously on the consequences of her study. I would like to comment on the specific ethical conflict faced by the researcher in this case and the possible mitigative measures that could have been undertaken. I will also try to derive broader inferences for the use of critical reflection in public health research.

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