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‘Environment of excellence’

Ethnomusicologist honoured for ethical research leadership


By Jeff Green

Dr. Kati Szego is the latest recipient of the Marilyn Harvey Award to Recognize the Importance of Research Ethics.

Dr. Szego, professor, School of Music, joined Memorial in 1995, establishing its program in ethnomusicology. She was a founding member of the school’s ethics review committee, which she continues to serve on today.

Dr. Kati Szego
Dr. Kati Szego
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Over the course of her career, she remains dedicated to nurturing ethical research.

‘Source of wisdom’

“She has brought her expertise and commitment to research ethics as supervisor to numerous doctoral students, and has sat on almost every doctoral committee within the ethnomusicology program,” Dr. Ian Sutherland, dean, School of Music, said in his nomination letter.

“Moreover, she is continuously sought out by faculty colleagues, as a source of wisdom and advice as they navigate ethical concerns in their own research. What is extraordinary about Dr. Szego is her everyday, semester-by semester, year-by-year commitment to building that foundation in every student. That is how an environment of excellence in research ethics is built.”

The Marilyn Harvey Award to Recognize the Importance of Research Ethics is named for a research nurse who brought forward her concerns regarding research ethics to senior administrators at Memorial. It was created to recognize individuals who have demonstrated leadership in creating an environment of excellence in their commitment to research ethics.

Internationally respected

An ethnomusicologist, Dr. Szego has been conducting research on Hawaiian song and dance practices since the early 1990s; her current projects on falsetto singing and yodelling are subsumed by broader interests in post/colonial cultural processes and ethical discourses of vocal production. Her work typically combines ethnographic methods with archival research.

As a teacher of ethnographic research methods, she is particularly concerned about how her students conduct themselves in the field.

“In disciplines like ethnomusicology, the relationships we cultivate with research participants can be deep and long-lasting,” Dr. Szego told the Gazette. “It’s important to approach our interlocutors with genuine respect and sensitivity, always with an eye to how we can reciprocate their goodwill and cooperation.”

From left are: Christian Dauble, an MA student in Ethnomusicology whose supervisor is Dr. Kati Szego; Marilyn Harvey; Dr. Szego; and Dr. Ian Sutherland.
From left are Christian Dauble, an MA student in ethnomusicology whose supervisor is Dr. Kati Szego; Marilyn Harvey; Dr. Szego; and Dr. Ian Sutherland.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Dr. Szego has just completed a four-year term as the editor of the Yearbook for Traditional Music, the flagship journal of the International Council for Traditional Music.

“As one of Memorial’s leading ethnomusicologists, Dr. Szego’s reputation for high-quality ethical research is stellar,” said Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research).

“Throughout her career, she has positively mentored the next generation of researchers about the critical importance of research ethics to academic pursuits. She has also played a central role in the incorporation of responsible ethical research into the development of ethnomusicology curriculum at Memorial. I offer Dr. Szego my sincerest congratulations.”

June 3 deadline

Nominations for this year’s Marilyn Harvey Award to Recognize the Importance of Research Ethics can be submitted to the Office of the Vice-President (Research) by June 3.

Previous recipients of the award include Dr. Kathy Hodgkinson, Faculty of Medicine; Dr. Fern Brunger, Faculty of Medicine; and Dr. Larry Felt, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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