"Acting ethically is down to you": Applying ethical protocols in qualitative fieldwork in care homes

Backhouse, Tamara and Daly, Rachel Louise (2021) "Acting ethically is down to you": Applying ethical protocols in qualitative fieldwork in care homes. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults. ISSN 1471-7794

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Purpose: Research ethics committees and ethical standards govern research. To conduct research involving participants, researchers must first gain a favourable opinion on their protocol from a research ethics committee. This article aims to promote researcher reflexivity and openness about applying agreed ethical protocols in practice. Approach: Using examples from qualitative fieldwork in two care home studies, we critically reflect on the issues encountered when applying ethics committee agreed protocols in real-world situations. Findings: Three areas of research practice are reflected on: 1) recruitment and consent, 2) approach to observations, and 3) research processes, shared spaces, and access to data. The interface between researcher and participant did not always mirror textbook scenarios. Ultimately, this left researchers accountable for taking ethically acceptable actions while conducting research. Originality: Drawing on research experiences in care homes, we consider the reliance on the researcher to be authentic and morally driven over and above formal ethical approvals. We conclude that the researcher is the bridging agent between ethical protocols and ethical practice in the field. As such, researchers need to be open and reflexive about their practices in fieldwork.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2021 01:44
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2021 01:37
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/81858
DOI: 10.1108/QAOA-06-2021-0050

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