The intensifying pace of research based on cross-cultural studies in the social sciences necessitates a discussion of the unique challenges of multi-sited research. Given an increasing demand for social scientists to expand their data collection beyond WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic) populations, there is an urgent need for transdisciplinary conversations on the logistical, scientific and ethical considerations inherent to this type of scholarship. As a group of social scientists engaged in cross-cultural research in psychology and anthropology, we hope to guide prospective cross-cultural researchers through some of the complex scientific and ethical challenges involved in such work: (a) study site selection, (b) community involvement and (c) culturally appropriate research methods. We aim to shed light on some of the difficult ethical quandaries of this type of research. Our recommendation emphasizes a community-centred approach, in which the desires of the community regarding research approach and methodology, community involvement, results communication and distribution, and data sharing are held in the highest regard by the researchers. We argue that such considerations are central to scientific rigour and the foundation of the study of human behaviour.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 287, n. 1935, September 2020