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Ethical Sharing and Reuse of Qualitative Data

Bishop, Libby (2009) 'Ethical Sharing and Reuse of Qualitative Data.' Australian Journal of Social Issues, 44 (3). pp. 255-272. ISSN 0157-6321

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The objective of this paper is to attempt to move beyond the impasse of ethical objections to reusing qualitative data. In doing so, there is no intention of dismissing the importance of ethical debates, in fact, quite the opposite. The debate about ethical reuse needs to be deepened and broadened. First, the current terrain of research ethics will be summarised and situated in the context of broader philosophical ethical frameworks. In contrast, the debates around ethics of archiving have often been narrowly focused on participants’ rights. The framework of debate should be broadened first by recognising other entities traditionally deemed within the scope of research ethics, namely the scholarly community and the public. The second useful broadening of the framework is provided by a deontological ethical stance with its focus on duties. In the final section, this expanded framework will be used to rebut several common ethical arguments against archiving qualitative data: archiving violates confidentiality; informed consent for reusing data is impossible; reusing data violates trust between researcher and participant; and, archiving creates an unacceptably high risk of data misrepresentation. If a more general philosophical debate on ethics has something to contribute, the central message must be that no single ethical claim is incontestable. The conclusion will position these debates in a wider context by asking what is at stake when the boundaries of ethical discourse about sharing data are drawn too narrowly.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: archive; research ethics; qualitative data; reuse
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CD Diplomatics. Archives. Seals > CD921 Archives
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > UK Data Archive
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2012 14:18
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2012 09:26

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