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“In taking up the topic of ethics and narrative inquiry, The Narrative Study of Lives rightfully establishes itself as the site where the most critical theoretical, methodological, and interpretive work on narrative in the human disciplines is now occurring. The editor and the contributors to this volume are to be thanked for their deeply probing, forward-looking analyses of the ethical problems that arise when researchers produce narratives about persons with whom close personal relationships have been formed.” --Norman K. Denzin, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign “All of us who work with life-history narratives are grateful to Dr. Josselson and her colleagues for moving us step-by-step toward a discipline with definable ethics and methodology, and at the same time holding up for us the incredible diversity of ...

Snakes in the Swamp: Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research
Snakes in the swamp: Ethical issues in qualitative research
The Swamp

During the past 2 years, I have been studying the life history of personal relationships in women reported for child abuse. This topic has been fraught with ethical dilemmas from its inception, and as the study progressed, additional issues emerged like snakes from a swamp. I began to tread this territory with caution.

As a neophyte researcher, I sought advice and direction in the standard texts of the literature. Although a number of ethical issues and pitfalls were identified, and some guidance was offered, one was often left with the strategy of “trust in our own gut feelings about what is right in the immediate situation” (Lipson, 1994, ...

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