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ERIC Number: ED405354
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Oct-23
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Who Knows What?
Bruckerhoff, Charles
A code of conduct for qualitative field studies is necessary to identify standards of good work and to prevent or expose unethical behavior. The cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, wisdom, and courage apply to qualitative field research, but ethics also requires asking about the purpose of the research itself. The researcher must ask why the research is being done and whom will it benefit. The problem of ethics of qualitative field research hinges on the issue of honesty about the cosmological beliefs of researchers. Qualitative field research is ethnography, and as ethnography it attempts to describe and explain human group culture through the local culture. Qualitative field research is also empirical, and in this respect it proceeds like any other science. The difference is that the qualitative researcher strives to know the object of study personally and to be his or her own most important research instrument. Personal involvement in qualitative research is both a strength and a potential weakness, because with subjectivity comes the potential for abuse. Action research is the popular term for ethnography of education to change, manipulate, or give a voice to certain people and their cultures, but action research is not ethnography; it is political activism to right perceived wrongs and promote the researchers' beliefs. The abuse of ethnography to establish special beliefs as truth is the main issue for the ethics of qualitative field studies. The qualitative field researcher must be characterized by a child-like innocence, good manners, and a facile mind determined to know and understand other cultures. (SLD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Curriculum Research and Evaluation, Chaplin, CT.