The Ethical Limits of Trust in the Research Context

Anna Corbo Crehan, Christine Jennett

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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This paper focuses on two groups of research informants ' Indigenous people and serving police officers. The authors' research experiences with members of these groups have shown that these informants consider written consent to compromise the researcher's guarantee of anonymity and confidentiality. We assess the practical and ethical validity of the concerns raised by informants from these two groups, and the implications that follow from those concerns not being taken into account by an EHRC. A second issue relevant to the giving of consent by research informants is what researchers ought to do with 'confessional findings'. Many EHRCs mandate reporting criminal behaviour despite an informant's wish to inform the policy process but not to alert the criminal justice system. As this wish is part of what is indicated by the informant's consent, ought the informant's wishes prevail over the obligations of the researcher to report criminal activity? What if denying the informant's wishes would lead to harmful 'fallout' in, for example, a small community or an employing organisation? The paper will identify the competing ethical issues involved here and make some attempt to determine their respective moral weight. Both of these issues regarding research informants' consent have major implications for the development and maintenance of trust between the researcher and the researched and, therefore, for the integrity of the relevant research processes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQualitative research as interpretive practice
Subtitle of host publicationproceedings from the 2003 inaugural RIPPLE QRIP Conference
EditorsG. Whiteford
Place of PublicationAlbury, NSW
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)1864671556
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventRIPPLE Qualitative research as interpretive practice Conference - Albury, NSW, Australia
Duration: 21 Sep 200322 Sep 2003


ConferenceRIPPLE Qualitative research as interpretive practice Conference


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