When discussing about conducting an ethical research, especially qualitative interviews, there are some issues that never crossed my mind before. For instance:
Do you know that, you can’t approach a participant through his boss directly? Meaning you can’t ask the boss to point out A, B or C and specifically ask them to participate in the interview. It will impose or unduely forcing them to do the interview, or else …since it is the boss implied ‘order’. The boss can only forward your participant invitation letter, but it’s up to the potential participants whether to response to the invitation. This way the boss will never know who amongst his subordinates did or did not take part in the study – hence no adverse consequence to them.
Do you know that you can’t simply record your interviews in audio or video format or even in writing without the respondents’ explicit consent and assuring that if they do consent, the records of the interview will be stored securely and be disposed of, once the study is completed? It’s the respondents’ rights not to be recorded and if they do, for the data to be treated confidentially.
Do you also know that you have to give the partipants the right to withdraw from participation, even after the interviews had been conducted with them? It’s the respondents’ right to do so, but in order to be fair to both parties, (since it will create extra headache to the researcher, if everyone starts to withdraw after all the data have been included in the study’s report) the researcher may include a ‘sunset’ clause, whereby the respondents is given up to for instance, 4 weeks to withdraw from the study, and lose the rights after the 4 weeks is over. This way, the respondents still have the right to withdraw in 4 weeks time and the researcher can start including the particular data into the analysis after the 4 weeks is over.
Hmmm…seems like a lot of work…paper & bureaucracy work 😦