Qualitative researchers are often confronted by ethical challenges when making research decisions because current guidelines and principles guiding research ethics do not wholly cover the concerns that can arise in complex social research situations. In this article, the authors explore this dilemma in relation to our experiences of conducting sensitive qualitative research with vulnerable groups in developing countries of Asia and the Pacific. With a focus on informed consent, the authors offer three case examples to explicate the difficulties faced in matching ethics theory with proforma approval requirements, which may limit the application of more expansive approaches to research design. To conclude, the authors put forth recommendations for modifications to the ethics system as a whole to promote greater collaboration and inclusion of qualitative researchers to the review and practice of research ethics in Australia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)