The Centrality of Ethics in Qualitative Research Practice

Traianou, Anna. 2020. The Centrality of Ethics in Qualitative Research Practice. In: Patricia Leavy, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research (2nd Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 86-110. ISBN 9780190847388 [Book Section]

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In recent years research ethics has come to be treated as much more central to the research process than it was in the past, particularly in the case of qualitative inquiry. Social researchers have long been concerned with ethical issues, and there is a substantial literature dating from at least the 1960s concerned with how access is to be gained, what harm can come to participants in particular sorts of research, how the autonomy of the participants should be respected, what sorts of reciprocity should be involved between researcher and researched, what should and should not be included in research reports in order to respect privacy, and so on. However, generally speaking, until quite recently ethics was seen as an ancillary matter: as important but not central to the very task of research. In recent years, this has changed significantly.

I will explore this change later and assess it. First, however, I will outline the nature of qualitative research ethics and some of the debates that surround it.

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Book Section

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Educational Studies


22 October 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

26 Apr 2021 12:43

Last Modified:

26 Apr 2021 12:43


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