Participant overexposure and the role of researcher judgement
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Participant overexposure and the role of researcher judgement

Martin Lipscomb Senior lecturer, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, School of Health and Social Care, University of the West of England

Martin Lipscomb reflects on a study he conducted to examine whether the ethical decisions he made were correct and how reflection can be applied to other studies

Ethical conduct discussion often focuses on decisions made before and during the research process. In contrast, this paper offers a reflective and personal post-factum critique of two distinct elements of ethical practice that emerged from a recent study of aspects of activity at a hospice in England. First, it is suggested that researcher judgement in protecting participants from ‘overexposure’ may have been insufficiently developed. Second, it is proposed that an unnecessarily individualist (biomedical) model of ethical good practice was uncritically accepted and that assumptions inherent in this approach should have been more thoroughly questioned. In conducting this study ‘usual’ measures were taken to protect from harm the individuals and organisation taking part. Before collecting data, which took the form of interview transcripts and notes made by the researcher in his role as staff nurse (participant observation), ethical approval was secured. Interviewees were known to the interviewer prior to interview.

Nurse Researcher. 17, 4, 49-59. doi: 10.7748/nr2010.

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