The ethics of caring in a good society:
A national conversation
About the project
St James Ethics Centre is conducting a 'national conversation' about the ethics of caring in a good society.
The conversation will include focus groups and online surveys.
The Centre is responsible for the independence of the research methodology. Our aim is to engage a wide range of people, groups, organisations, institutions and professions in the conversation; and to hear the voices across a diversity of occupational, geographical, cultural, ethnic, religious and contextual settings.
Read on to learn more about the project.
Learn more about the project
A number of people have been wondering what this project is all about so we thought to share some of the more common questions along with our responses.
A word about the research
Just to clarify, it is not 'research' as such, nor is it a 'consultation' - it is however a genuine invitation for you to join the conversation about caring in a good society and to assist in bringing this conversation to the fore to be part of all our lives. The classical Greek philosopher Socrates said "the unexamined life is not worth living", so let's hear as many perspectives as possible.
The form of the report is narrative
The report will be written in narrative form using the stories from the focus groups and the qualitative survey and the information from the quantitative survey so that the information and the ethical dilemmas will be available to us all to read. We can all be in the conversation - the report will simply be a weaving of the tapestry of your thoughts.
In the first instance the draft narrative report will be tabled in December 2008 to the Steering Group which includes the three project partners (Carers NSW, Macquarie Group Foundation and St James Ethics Centre). The next phases, including how best to make available the information of this narrative report, will be discussed.
The report will be organised under the four key questions and then 'clusters of thoughts' will crystallise under each question supported by the material in the qualitative and quantitative surveys.
Other uses of the narrative report
One or more of the project partners may choose to use the narrative report in a particular way, but hopefully we will all use it in whatever roles and experiences we have. To know someone on the other side of Australia has had a similar or completely different experience, argument, concept or idea will inform how we continue as a policy maker, a carer, a workplace manager or a nursing home care worker - to name just a few - we are simply listening to ourselves and others and allowing this to inform our thoughts, feelings discussions and actions.
Confidentiality / anonymity
Anonymity is perhaps more accurate than confidentiality - you may be quoted, but never in a way that allows your identification, unless you have given your permission.
What do we mean by caring?
For the purpose of this conversation, the ethics of caring in a good society: a national conversation, we are talking about the caring all of us are involved in with our various family, society, community, professional, individual and governing ways. And how in a good society we may all work together to do this. This often involves competing responsibilities where one is asked to choose between right and right and often when the situation involves attempting to choose the best option from a limited and often poor set of options. There are many ethical issues and dilemmas involved in caring.
Question 2 (Section 2 in this questionnaire) specifically focuses on caring for people of all ages who have a chronic illness, a disability, a mental illness or who are frail aged.
How were the focus groups chosen?
That's a long story - we will tell it in the Narrative Report.
How many people were involved?
More than 300 people participated in the fifty focus groups - we anticipate around 100 people to answer the qualitative survey and as many as answer this survey - hopefully hundreds, even thousands.
So thank you for being part of this!
The online survey has now concluded.