In reading Chapter 3 of Patton’s book on Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, I was given pause to ponder the ethical considerations associated with conducting research in a qualitative study. (I am sure there will be a section to read on this, but I am not there yet!) In Ernest T. Stringer’s book on Action Research, I found information in Chapter 3 that briefly alludes to the importance of such in any research project one undertakes. Of primary importance being that no participant in the study one is initiating should ever come to harm or wrongful consequence as a result of taking part in the research. Stringer also talks about informed consent documents which are necessary prior to initiating the research, in which the following questions might be addressed:
* questions posed/statements given concerning the person’s right to withdraw at any time
* questions posed/statements given concerning the person’s right to refuse to participate
* questions posed/statements given surrounding the return of data collected after the study is completed
* questions posed/statements given concerning how the data is stored so that no one other than the official personnel can view it
* questions posed/statements given concerning ways in which the information collected could identify the person in a public way or be revealed in a way to others without written consent
As it was suggested to me by Martha on Monday morning that in my thesis data collection I might want to interview some of the people who contacted me about the essay I wrote which went viral, these ethical considerations have been thrust to the forefront (as I will now need to consider others than just myself in this qualitative study I am about to begin). As such, I can see that very private, personal things will be shared with me that I will have to carefully consider and then write about. It will be an exercise in discretion and respectful consideration of the opinions and stories I am privy to. I am also interested in finding out what ethical considerations I must take into account in revealing my own biases and expressing my personal intentions with this thesis. I will pursue this in my reading of Chapter 5 of Patton.