Profile: Jonelle Husain
As a researcher, Jonelle Husain tries to never lose sight of the fact that her test subjects are human beings.
Husain is a sociology doctoral candidate as well as a lecturer in the department of sociology. Before this, the Yazoo City native was a research associate II at the Social Science Research Center. While there, she worked on a broad range of projects including one funded by the Delta Health Alliance Oral Health Project, where she collaborated on a series of focus groups exploring the barriers to preventive oral health care in the Mississippi Delta.
But it is her doctoral research that perhaps most affects her ideas of research ethics.
Husain's interest in post-abortion counseling groups grew out of her earlier research with pro-life activism in Mississippi. She became curious about women who sought resolution to their abortions through participation in post-abortion groups, and wanted to understand what motivated women to seek out these groups and how their participation in post-abortion groups changed how they understood their own abortions.
"I wanted to study how women who understand their abortions as a traumatic experience come to that understanding, and what trauma means to them and how it is manifested in their day-to-day lives," Husain said.
Through her work with these groups, Husain has learned that one of the most important things is to hear all of the voices within a research group and avoid letting personal perspectives overshadow interpretations of the views shared through the interview process.
"I ask myself, 'How do I overcome research obstacles without putting my human subjects at risk?'" she said. "You have to stay attuned to the fact that you are dealing with another human being."
Husain even presented some of her findings from her research ethics study at the national Advancing Ethical Research conference for the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research organization late last year.
Husain will continue to work with women's counseling groups and plans to interview their facilitators as part of her ongoing research. But regardless of the research she is performing, her goal is to ensure participants are able to recognize themselves in research and feel that they have been fairly represented.
Next week … Michael Barton !