U9D1 -68 – Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research


Because the researcher is a data collection instrument, qualitative research presents many possible ethical dilemmas.

Three common areas of ethical dilemmas in qualitative research are:

1. Conflict of interest.

2. Research with vulnerable and protected populations.

3. Self as subject.

In your discussion post:

1. Describe each of these common areas of ethical dilemma in detail.

2. Describe the ethical issues that might arise in your study.

Keep in mind that all research involving human subjects includes ethical considerations, unless the researcher uses only secondary sources.


Use the Internet to read The Belmont Report from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Complete the following:

Read the document Academic Integrity and Honesty.

Review the iGuide page Research Ethics Education.

Read IRB A–Z Handbook.

Read the Transcript “Qualitative Research Proposal”

INTRODUCTION – Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research

In any research study, there are always ethical issues that must be considered, especially in qualitative research, which poses risks to both the subjects and the researcher. Even when a researcher uses de-identified secondary data (secondary

data from which all identifiers have been removed), the Institutional Review Board (IRB) must still review the proposed study—and qualitative studies rarely employ de-identified secondary data.

In this unit, you will examine the ethical issues that might arise in a qualitative research study and compose a plan for addressing those issues that might arise in your proposed study.


To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:

1. Analyze ethical issues in designing qualitative research with human participants.

2. Evaluate the ethical responsibility of the researcher as it applies to the qualitative research process.

3. Assess the role and importance of the IRB process in human subject protection.

4. Evaluate the characteristics, purposes, benefits, strengths, and weaknesses of qualitative research methods.


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