ERIC Number: ED362560
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Apr
Doing Harm: Unintended Consequences of Fieldwork.
Magolda, Peter M.; Robinson, Brenda M.
The harm that can transpire during and after the fieldwork phase of research is examined, and the ethical obligations of qualitative researchers to respond are explored. Recognition that research has the potential to harm has led the research community to develop philosophical guidelines for ethical conduct. Qualitative researchers have also developed procedures for ethical conduct, bearing in mind that qualitative research alters the traditional relationship between researcher and researched and does not allow the researcher to remain a detached spectator. Experiences noted during a 15-month ethnographic study of development of community among college students and the acculturation of students in a college fraternity illustrate potential areas in which the research process could do harm. Analysis of these experiences suggests that researchers have an ethical obligation to forewarn participants of inevitable harm and an ethical responsibility to interact with respondents after the fieldwork is complete. Some harm is an inevitable outcome of fieldwork, and professional standards, administrative practices, and methodology are a necessary but insufficient guide for practice. Researchers must retain sensitivity to issues of harm and communicate openly with respondents. (Contains 22 references.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Acculturation, College Students, Communication (Thought Transfer), Confidentiality, Credibility, Educational Researchers, Ethics, Ethnography, Field Studies, Fraternities, Higher Education, Qualitative Research, Research Methodology, Research Problems, Researcher Subject Relationship, Student Problems
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Atlanta, GA, April 12-16, 1993).