Home truths: ethical issues in family research

Gabb, Jacqui (2010). Home truths: ethical issues in family research. Qualitative Research, 10(4) pp. 461–478.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1468794110366807


This article interrogates the shifting ethical contours of research on contemporary childhood and family living. I reflect on increases in ethical regulation and the role of ethics review panels. Drawing on original data from empirical research I examine some of the ethical issues that arise in studies of family life with particular attention to qualitative mixed methods research and the use of psychosocial approaches. I propose that multilayered in-depth approaches require us to consider carefully ethical standpoints, affecting how we thread together individual and/or family case studies. Unsettling stories in research on emotional - social worlds refine our understandings of ‘harm’ and ‘distress’ and reconfigure ideas of ‘responsible knowing’. Qualitative mixed methods research situates ‘messy’, conflicting and unfavourable data as part of ordinary parenthood, reformulating ethical and epistemological dilemmas for researchers of personal lives.

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