Ethical Principles in Qualitative Research Most of Students Are Unaware

Ethical Principles in Qualitative Research

Qualitative researchers are constantly thinking about how to ethically conduct their studies. This is because qualitative research is about people, which means it has the potential for harm if done poorly. There are some general principles that all qualitative researchers should keep in mind as they conduct their work. In this article, we will discuss three ethical principles that all qualitative researchers should keep in mind as they conduct their studies.

What is Qualitative research?

Qualitative research is a type of social science investigation that focuses on the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of individuals. Unlike quantitative research, which uses numbers to analyze data and make conclusions, qualitative research studies people’s perspectives and experiences by asking them questions or observing them in action.


If you wanted to know what makes someone happy at work, you could do quantitative research by surveying 100 people about their job satisfaction levels over time. Alternatively, if you wanted to understand what makes this particular person happy at work (rather than making generalizations about “people”), then you could conduct a more in-depth qualitative interview with him or her. This type of study would ask questions such as “What makes your job satisfying?” In order for researchers who use qualitative methods to draw conclusions from their findings (i.e., not just describing them), they must be able to relate these results back into broader theories or models that explain why certain behaviors occur — unlike with quantitative methods where the study itself is meant primarily for understanding relationships between variables rather than explaining why things happen.”

Ethical Principles in Qualitative research

Be Transparent about Your Identity

When you are in a position of power, it is important to make yourself transparent. This means a few things:

  • You should be clear about who you are and what your role is in the research process. If you’re an academic or a researcher, explain that. If not, explain why not.
  • You should state when possible that you have no vested interest in the results of your work (for example, if it’s for an employer).
  • Explain why this particular project needs to be done and what difference it will make when finished (if applicable).

Respond to the Moral Context of a Participant’s Life

In addition to the ethical principles of respect for persons, justice, beneficence, nonmaleficence and autonomy that apply in all research contexts, qualitative researchers are also called upon to be sensitive to the moral context of participants’ lives. Ethical considerations include:

  • Responding to a participant’s lived experience. Researchers have an ethical obligation not only to respect but also “to address and engage with” participants’ experiences.
  • Transparency with participants about how their stories will be used by the researcher and others. Transparent communication helps ensure that your research is conducted in ways that are consistent with your values as well as those of others who may read or use your data down the line.

Keep the Data Safe and Confidential

The data you collect needs to be kept safe from both yourself and others. This means that the data should not be used for other purposes, and it should not be shared with anyone else without consent. There are several reasons why keeping your research safe is important.

First, there are ethical considerations involved in protecting the privacy of the people who participated in your study. Participants may have shared sensitive information with you—they may want their medical records protected or they might want their identity hidden during research interviews. You also want to avoid any potential legal issues arising from sharing or publishing information that might violate copyright laws or contain confidential information about others’ work.

Secondly, keeping your research safe helps ensure data integrity because it prevents tampering or misreporting of results by yourself or other researchers who access your files after publication. It also protects against accidental loss through deletion; while most operating systems have built-in backup options that can save previous versions of documents automatically (such as Microsoft Word), these backups aren’t always 100% reliable. The more backups you have available, the better off you will be if something does go wrong—and having multiple backups on different platforms ensures all possible scenarios are covered!

Respect the Privacy of Others

The first rule of research ethics is to respect the privacy of others. You should never publish or otherwise share information about people who don’t want their data shared (including yourself). In terms of privacy, a researcher must consider the following points:

  • Avoid publishing personal information (like names, addresses, phone numbers).
  • Do not share data with people who did not give consent.
  • Make sure that you have consent to publish all data in your research project — even if it is anonymous and no one can be identified by their responses to questions asked in the survey or interview.

Do Not Undermine Protected Groups

In your research, you may come across language that could be used to undermine a protected group. For example, if you are studying the experiences of people of color and use their personal stories in your analysis, it is important that they feel comfortable with how you write about them. The way we talk about these groups matters because it shapes how others will see them.

In order to avoid undermining protected groups, check all your sources for any slurs or biased language before publishing them or presenting them at conferences/workshops/presentations etc., then ask yourself if this language would make members of any protected group uncomfortable? If so, then do not use it!

These are important principles that you should keep in mind when performing qualitative research. If you plan to conduct qualitative research in your dissertation and afraid that you won’t be able to fulfill all the ethical standards then get dissertation help online from expert researchers.


Qualitative research is an important tool for understanding how people think and behave. It allows us to better understand how people make decisions, what motivates them, and what they value. Qualitative research is also a powerful method by which we can learn about the experiences of marginalized groups, who often have no voice in society because they’re not heard or seen. This means that it’s your responsibility as researchers to work ethically when performing qualitative studies so that you don’t make things worse for these groups by exploiting their stories without care or consideration for their wellbeing.



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