An article published in Bioethics examines the topic of research fatigue--or psychological and emotional exhaustion both towards and as a result of participating in research. The article is meant to initiate a conversation about research fatigue experienced by marginalized communities and how the research community should respond to it.
As global interconnectivity facilitates an increasing amount of research and studies on hard-to-reach communities, research fatigue is likely to grow. Analyzing and addressing the ethical aspects of research fatigue can help mitigate its impacts on marginalized and vulnerable communities and on the quality of scientific research itself.
Research fatigue in marginalized communities is a systemic issue that requires systemic responses, noted the article's author, Florence Ashley, of the University of Toronto. "No one wants to be the reason why their colleague can't recruit enough participants for their study. No one wants to be the reason why studies that would promote social justice don't get completed, and thereby contribute to ongoing inequalities," they said. "Researchers and research ethics committees should ensure that studies are responsive to the needs of the researched community and tailored in all ways to minimize research fatigue."