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  • 00:00


  • 00:07

    SPEAKER: Imagine that two researchers promisedparticipants complete confidentiality in exchangefor allowing them to accompany an illegal logging expedition.While on the trip the researchersfound that environmental management officers were beingbribed to turn a blind eye to illegal logging.But if they revealed this information,

  • 00:27

    SPEAKER [continued]: it could put participants at risk.When they returned home, the authoritiesdemanded that the researchers surrender their expeditionnotes.Do you think the researchers should hand them over?One argument is to hand over the databecause the abuse of authority by public officialsshould compel the researcher to break her promise

  • 00:49

    SPEAKER [continued]: and support the public's right to knowabout the illegal logging.The other argument is to say nothingsince the researcher made a promise.Also, handing over data could endanger other researchersand future field work.This case study is loosely based on the experiencesof researchers in the Amazon basin.

  • 01:10

    SPEAKER [continued]: But ethnographers of urban explorationin the UK, sociologists of environmental activism in the,US and many more researchers have allfaced similar dilemmas.When we undertake research, we might create agreementsso that particular information is provided onlyto specific researchers and only for certain purposes.

  • 01:33

    SPEAKER [continued]: Some of these agreements deal with relatively predictablecontexts and might use a standardized letterto introduce data gathering by a questionnaire.However, we might also be workingin unpredictable environments with a shifting rangeof individuals and groups.And agreements need to be negotiated and renegotiatedthrough lengthy fieldwork.

  • 01:55

    SPEAKER [continued]: If we agree to restrict other people's access to our data,there are various methodological protections we can adopt.We might not record data, or at least not openly,and even warn participants not to offerparticular kinds of data.We can also work with participantsto identify what is sensitive and howwe might offer protection.

  • 02:17

    SPEAKER [continued]: We should develop clear data management protocolsabout where and how we store data and how we transfer data.We might need to reach agreementswith other organizations about claims they will makeand legitimate uses they can make of our data.Finally, we need to think through how wewill disseminate our findings.

  • 02:37

    SPEAKER [continued]: Do we restrict access to data?Or alter data before dissemination?Do we allow participants to review writing or withholdpublications?So the next time you find yourself doing field work,think through these questions earlyand create a strategy to look after your data.Make sure you are aware of your legal position

  • 02:59

    SPEAKER [continued]: if government agencies make demands on you.And you'll find yourself better prepared to makea well-informed and ethical decisionand defend your action.

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication Year: 2018

Video Type:Tutorial

Methods: Confidentiality, Research ethics

Keywords: practices, strategies, and tools

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Learn about the importance of maintaining confidentiality in research.

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Confidentiality in Social Research

Learn about the importance of maintaining confidentiality in research.

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