SAGE Journal Articles
SAGE journal articles and other additional readings have been carefully selected by the author to accompany each chapter. Click on the following links. Please note these will open in a new window.
Ethical tensions are part of the everyday practice of doing research – all kinds of research. How do researchers deal with ethical problems that arise in the practice of their research, and are there conceptual frameworks that they can draw on to assist them? This article examines the relationship between reflexivity and research ethics. It focuses on what constitutes ethical research practice in qualitative research and how researchers achieve ethical research practice. As a framework for thinking through these issues, the authors distinguish two different dimensions of ethics in research, which they term procedural ethics and “ethics in practice.” The relationship between them and the impact that each has on the actual doing of research are examined. The article then draws on the notion of reflexivity as a helpful way of understanding both the nature of ethics in qualitative research and how ethical practice in research can be achieved.
This article addresses the difficulties that educational ethnographers and qualitative researchers have experienced with what appear to be great ethical divides between their research approaches and the approval processes of institutional review boards. The author begins with a brief discussion of ethical issues involving human subjects in education research, then explains the divides as largely a consequence of different ethical frameworks and orientations toward applications of the basic ethical principles of respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. She also discusses the challenges of bureaucratic arrangements established to ensure federal compliance. She concludes with strategies for bridging the divides, with emphasis on the importance of representation, communication, education, and practical academic acumen.
Roulet, T., Gill, M., Stenger, S., & Gill, D. (2017). Reconsidering the value of covert research: The role of ambiguous consent in participant observations. Organizational Research Methods, 20, 487-517.
In this article, we provide a nuanced perspective on the benefits and costs of covert research. In particular, we illustrate the value of such an approach by focusing on covert participant observation. We posit that all observational studies sit along a continuum of consent, with few research projects being either fully overt or fully covert due to practical constraints and the ambiguous nature of consent itself. With reference to illustrative examples, we demonstrate that the study of deviant behaviors, secretive organizations and socially important topics is often only possible through substantially covert participant observation. To support further consideration of this method, we discuss different ethical perspectives and explore techniques to address the practical challenges of covert participant observation, including; gaining access, collecting data surreptitiously, reducing harm to participants, leaving the site of study and addressing ethical issues.