1 Read – Chapters, Journal Articles, and Research Blogs: Find top research articles to cite and enrich your reading with your ready-made bibliography of qualitative research from SAGE books, journals, and other credible sources. Use the discussion questions online to practice thinking critically about research.

5.1 Ethics in qualitative research practice

The article Ethics and the Practice of Qualitative Research show how the application of ethical codes is complicated in qualitative research. In particular, the issues of consent and social justice are highlighted.

Q. How do you see ethics impacting your own research during the three stages of research the article covers: design, fieldwork, and analysis?

5.2 Ethical constructs

For a useful, short, discussion of ethics and qualitative research, go to the Ethics entry in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods.

Q. How would you define ethics and morality in research?

Q. Would your ethical practice differ depending on what kind of research you’re doing or what type of population you’re studying?

5.3 Informed consent

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods also defines informed consent.

Q. What are the key elements of informed consent described here?

Q. When might informed consent be difficult to obtain, and what might you do to troubleshoot?

5.4 Anonymity?

See the SAGE Encyclopedia for a discussion of confidentiality and research ethics.

Q. What are the most important reasons for protecting confidentiality?

Q. How can participants’ identities be kept anonymous?

5.5 Ethics and digital data

See the SAGE Encyclopedia for a discussion of the ethical issues that arise when using new media in your research.

Q. How do issues such as privacy, informed consent and data ownership apply when using digital media?

Q. How would using digital media contribute to or limit culturally responsive research and the balance of power between researchers and participants?

5.6 Ethics committees explored

In the paper Research Ethics Review and the Sociological Research Relationship, Adam Hedgecoe reports research on Research Ethics Committees in the UK. His findings are encouraging and reject the assumption that such committees are biased against qualitative research.

Q. Do Hedgecoe’s findings surprise you? Why or why not?