Researching the Syrian tragedy: The need for evidence and moral reflexivity
Adam Peter Coutts, Lecturer in Public Policy Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge, Magdalene College.
Other Contributors:
  • Aula Abbara, Academic researcher
  • Fouad Mohammad Fouad, Assistant Professor
  • Leonard S. Rubestein, Director, Program on Human Rights, Health and Conflict
  • Donna McKay, Executive Director
  • Ahmad Tarakji, President, Syrian American Medical Society
  • Sophie Roborgh, Postdoctoral researcher
  • Annie Sparrow, MBBS MRCP FRACP MPH MD
  • Sharif Ismail, Sharif Ismail, MBBS MPhil MPH, Academic Clinical Fellow in Public Health
  • Miriam Orcutt, Visiting Senior Research Fellow
  • Zaher Sahloul, MD, Global Response chairman
  • Wasim Maziak, MD, PhD, Professor, Chair

‘The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them’ (George Orwell, Notes on Nationalism 1945).
We read with concern Sen and colleagues’ discussion of potential breaches of ethical neutrality in the reporting of events in Syria by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and academic researchers. We fully concur that any research must be based on rigorous methodologies and robust ethical frameworks. However, when engaging in debates on ethics and critiques of existing research one should adopt a morally reflexive position and consider all the evidence that exists no matter who has produced it.

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