Researching sensitive subjects?

Asked by: Janet Cordero

Sensitive research addresses some of society’s most pressing social issues and policy questions. Although ignoring the ethical issues in sensitive research is not a responsible approach to science, shying away from controversial topics, simply because they are controversial, is also an avoidance of responsibility.

How do you research a sensitive topic?

I want to share a few things that I have learned are helpful as part of a research practice with sensitive subjects and/or vulnerable populations.

  1. Don’t relate – listen. As I mentioned above, I’m a total interloper. …
  2. Stories are gifts. …
  3. Listen first, research second. …
  4. Ask, just ask. …
  5. Cultural gatekeepers. …
  6. Take time to process.

What are sensitive subjects?

A sensitive subject or issue needs to be dealt with carefully because it is likely to cause disagreement or make people angry or upset.

What is sensitivity in qualitative research?

Theoretical sensitivity means that through data gathering and analysis researchers are able to “discover” relationships between their categories that lead them to construct a grounded theory that fits, works with, and is relevant to the field under study (Glaser, 1978).

What are some ethical issues in research?


  • Study design and ethics approval. According to COPE, “good research should be well adjusted, well-planned, appropriately designed, and ethically approved. …
  • Data analysis. …
  • Authorship. …
  • Conflicts of interest. …
  • Redundant publication and plagiarism.

What is sensitive research data?

“Sensitive data are data that can be used to identify an individual, species, object, or location that introduces a risk of discrimination, harm, or unwanted attention.” – Australian Research Data Commons. If your data involves human participants, it may be sensitive data, even if no personal identifiers are collected.

Which research method is better when conducting research on sensitive topics?

Qualitative research

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Qualitative research is more suited to the study of sensitive topics as it does not assume prior knowledge of people’s experiences (Lee, 1993). Instead it allows people to develop and express their own reality.

How do you handle sensitive topics?

They are as follows:

  1. Step 1: Show empathy and listen intently. The person has already put themselves in a vulnerable position by coming forward in the first place. …
  2. Step 2: When appropriate, ask questions to better understand the issue. It doesn’t stop with just listening. …
  3. Step 3: Exhibit loyalty and provide guidance.

Why is that researchers should be sensitive to the research participants?

Researchers have a duty to consider carefully the risks and consequences associated with their research. Research that is classed as ‘sensitive’ carries with it particular risks that need to be managed, with particular consideration being given to the potential consequences of these risks.

Which 3 topics of conversation should be avoided Why?

To avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable, don’t talk about:

  • politics.
  • religion.
  • personal finances.
  • personal appearance.
  • death or illness.
  • personal gossip.
  • offensive jokes.
  • anything so specific that very few people can relate to it.

What are the 5 ethical considerations in research?

Ethical considerations in research are a set of principles that guide your research designs and practices. These principles include voluntary participation, informed consent, anonymity, confidentiality, potential for harm, and results communication.

What are the major issues relating to the research subjects?

Results: The major ethical issues in conducting research are: a) Informed consent, b) Beneficence- Do not harm c) Respect for anonymity and confidentiality d) Respect for privacy.

What are the 7 principles of ethics in research?

In practice, these ethical principles mean that as a researcher, you need to: (a) obtain informed consent from potential research participants; (b) minimise the risk of harm to participants; (c) protect their anonymity and confidentiality; (d) avoid using deceptive practices; and (e) give participants the right to …

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Who are the vulnerable subjects in research and clinical trials?

Vulnerable population

The vulnerable populations include but not limited to children, minors, pregnant women, prisoners, employees, critically ill, unconscious, disabled individuals, elderly people, ethnic minorities, international research, and economically and educationally disadvantaged [11].

What steps must a researcher take when dealing with human subjects?

Research with Human Subjects

Researchers must get informed consent from their subjects before beginning research. Informed consent means that subjects must know enough about the research to decide whether to participate, and they must agree to participate voluntarily.

What are the four ethical principles in research?

The 4 main ethical principles, that is beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice, are defined and explained.

Which of the following is unethical practice in research?

What are unethical practices in science? Fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. recording or reporting them.

What are the ethical principles in qualitative research?

Thus, while conducting qualitative research, researchers must adhere to the following ethical conducts; upholding informed consent, confidentiality and privacy, adhering to beneficence’s principle, practicing honesty and integrity.

Why is confidentiality considered ethical considerations in research?

The ethical duty of confidentiality includes obligations to protect information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, modification, loss or theft. Fulfilling the ethical duty of confidentiality is essential to the trust relationship between researcher and participant, and to the integrity of the research project.

What are the ethical issues in quantitative research?

These ethical norms include issues such as requirements for honesty, requirements for informed consent, anonymisation and storage of data, the right of access to data for participants and duty of confidentiality for all those who undertake research.

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What should a qualitative researcher must consider while conducting his/her research?

Making sense of complex situations or social processes. Learn from participants about their experiences (beliefs, motivations, opinions) Construct a hypothesis/theory from data. Understand phenomena deeply and in detail.

What should a researcher needs to avoid in qualitative research?

Ask general questions first, before moving to specific or sensitive questions. Leading questions and wording bias. Questions that lead or prompt the participants in the direction of probable outcomes may result in biased answers. Keep the questions simple and be careful to avoid words that could introduce bias.

What does not apply to qualitative research?

What qualitative research is not: Quantifiable: Surveys, even those that include open-ended questions, are never qualitative, neither is putting numbers to frequencies of word occurrences.

What are the 7 types of qualitative research?

Let’s dive into the 7 qualitative research techniques.

  • Individual Interviews. An individual interview can be conducted over the phone, Skype, or in person. …
  • Focus Groups. …
  • Observations or “Shop-Alongs” …
  • In-Home Videos. …
  • Lifestyle Immersion and Real World Dialogue. …
  • Journal or Diary. …
  • Online Focus Groups.

What are the 6 qualitative research methods?

Six common types of qualitative research are phenomenological, ethnographic, grounded theory, historical, case study, and action research. Phenomenological studies examine human experiences through the descrip- tions that are provided by the people involved.

What are 5 examples of qualitative research?

5 Types of Qualitative Research Methods

  • Ethnography. Ethnography, one of the most popular methods of qualitative research, involves the researcher embedding himself or herself into the daily life and routine of the subject or subjects. …
  • Narrative. …
  • Phenomenology. …
  • Grounded Theory. …
  • Case study.