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The afterlife of interviews: explicit ethics and subtle ethics in sensitive or distressing qualitative research


Pascoe Leahy, C, The afterlife of interviews: explicit ethics and subtle ethics in sensitive or distressing qualitative research, Qualitative Research pp. 1-18. ISSN 1468-7941 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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The Author(s) 2021.

DOI: doi:10.1177/14687941211012924


When conducting interviews about sensitive subject matter such as family life, powerful emotions may arise. The kinds of unexpected distress that can surface in interviews concerning topics laden with personal significance are different to the readily anticipated trauma that accompanies interviews in post-crisis or post-conflict situation. This article analyses the ethical considerations that accompany such research, drawing upon literature from oral history and qualitative sociology. The article traces ethical issues during the temporal phases of qualitative research - before, during and after an interview - before proposing three strategies that interviewers can adopt to help protect narrators from ongoing harm or distress after an interview. Such ethical safeguards include the self-interview, the post-interview follow-up with the narrator, and adopting an ethics of reciprocity that allows the narrator to feel that they are contributing to a larger purpose through involvement in research.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:oral history, qualitative research, ethics, qualitative sociology, family, motherhood, parenthood
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Gender studies
Research Field:Feminist methodologies
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Ethics
Objective Field:Ethics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Pascoe Leahy, C (Dr Carla Pascoe Leahy)
ID Code:148732
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:History and Classics
Deposited On:2022-02-04
Last Modified:2022-06-20

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