Rethinking Risk in Critical Qualitative Research: Ethical Implications
Uploaded By Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research
The goal of this session is to explore vulnerability and risk issues in an interactive format such that the ethical concerns of CQ researchers can be examined and ways of mitigating risk can be explored. Throughout the presentation, examples from a study that involved participants with advanced cancer will be used to illustrate ethical challenges in critical qualitative research (CQR). Standards of research ethics often do not adequately address unique issues relating to the vulnerability of research participants in CQR. There are many groups that have been labelled as vulnerable or ?at risk? in research, such as children, the elderly, women, prisoners, those with mental health issues and those with diminished capacity for self-determination, ethnocultural minorities and those who are institutionalized (TCPS2). These groups are commonly participants in CQR given that often one of the foci of this research is on exploring power differences. A rigid response to perceived risk, however, can be paternalistic and can ultimately result in the diminishment of autonomy of these so-called at-risk groups and even to their exclusion. In addition, the positionality of researchers using CQR approaches is such that they are often physically, politically and socially more proximate to participants than in other forms of research. Ethically this is significant because these researchers can become aware of, or at times may even increase, the vulnerabilities of participants. Conventional principles of research ethics, however, tend to be derived from ethical traditions that emphasize impartiality and universality as opposed to attentiveness and social justice, providing limited guidance for CQ researchers in these situations.