This post is in the Ethics category

The gathering of “sensitive personal information” in terms of an individual’s cognitive style coupled with video of “real life” interaction exemplifying that style can cause concerns of potential identification, indiscretion and peer judgement, particularly to individuals who may perceive their own “way of thinking” as different, but private. A perception quoted in another context may also be here – “deviates are not particularly liked” (Brown, 2000, p. 205). Anonymity and confidentiality therefore assume primary importance in this study to ensure appropriate protection of participants.

Self observation data, personal narratives and personal communications were collected directly either on paper or electronically from participants. In its raw form this included identifying data (names, dates, places and circumstances) relating to the participant observer and others involved in the interaction. These reports were collated and identifying details anonymised so that no analysis or reporting could identify the participants. The original data was stored and accessed by the research team according to Griffith University guidelines.

Video data poses some more difficult anonymity issues as their very nature identifies the participant, therefore consent to use the data in reporting or presentation is effectively consent to identify visually and aurally. Such consent was sought in a small number of cases and a video effect used as a partial disguise. This effect also had a specific process and aesthetic function and is described in detail in the section on presentation formats.

All video data was securely maintained according to Griffith University guidelines and access restricted to the research team. Where elements of video are considered to be of particular interest, additional permission was sought via a secondary consent mechanism detailing the specific elements for inclusion. Transcripts of the verbal and non-verbal interaction were made using false names, thus allowing transcript data to be included in the reporting without the video and without additional consent.

Leave a Reply