Participant overexposure and the role of researcher judgement
Lipscomb, M. (2010) Participant overexposure and the role of researcher judgement. Nurse Researcher, 17 (4). pp. 49-59. ISSN 1351-5578
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Ethical conduct discussion often focuses on decisions made before and during the research process. In contrast, this paper offers a reflective and personal post-factum critique of two distinct elements of ethical practice that emerged from a recent study of aspects of activity at a hospice in England. First, it is suggested that researcher judgement in protecting participants from ‘overexposure’ may have been insufficiently developed. Second, it is proposed that an unnecessarily individualist (biomedical) model of ethical good practice was uncritically accepted and that assumptions inherent in this approach should have been more thoroughly questioned. In conducting this study ‘usual’ measures were taken to protect from harm the individuals and organisation taking part. Before collecting data, which took the form of interview transcripts and notes made by the researcher in his role as staff nurse (participant observation), ethical approval was secured. Interviewees were known to the interviewer prior to interview.