Ethical Issues in Qualitative Data Collection Among Vulnerable Populations in Healthcare Setting

Ethical Issues in Qualitative Data Collection Among Vulnerable Populations in Healthcare Setting

Seng Fah Tong (National University of Malaysia, Malaysia), Wen Ting Tong (University of Malaya, Malaysia) and Wah Yun Low (University of Malaya, Malaysia)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2730-5.ch005

Abstract

The chapter aims to highlight the ethical issues in qualitative data collection among vulnerable populations. Among the ethical issues are the conflict role of interviewers, adverse impact on future patient-therapist relationship, and emotional trauma both during and after data collection. The interviewers, usually healthcare providers, may subconsciously assume the role as a therapist during the interviews. Furthermore, the interviewers may encounter the participants (patients) in future clinical consultations; hence, information exchanges during the interviews could influence the therapeutic relationship. Recollection of experiences with an illness during the interviews can be a painful experience for patients. These ethical dilemmas can be addressed with appropriate sampling of participants and constant awareness of the researcher roles and relationships with the participants. Debriefing the participants with support is important to handle emotional upheavals.
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Unfolding The Ethical Issues In Various Stages Of The Data Collection Process

In qualitative data collection, incidences that present an ethical dilemma occur when there is tension between the benefits to researchers (the need for data) and benefits to participants (the need to have confidentiality preserved and fulfill participants’ own agenda). Setting rules and guidelines in relation to ethical issues in qualitative data collection can be a challenging task because of unanticipated incidences in the data collection. The planning for recruitment of participants and the venue are often tentative. The researchers may need to collect further information, either from the same participants, or from new participants. During the IDIs and FGDs, researchers may also need to deal with unanticipated stories revealed by participants. They may also encounter issues that are unrelated to the topic of the study, for instance, participants taking the opportunity to fulfil their own agenda from the interviews (Clarke, 2006). Thus, each of these stages of the data collection process can present an ethical dilemma.

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