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Fieldwork and social science research ethics

Qudsiya Contractor

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2008.008


Fieldwork as a part of social science research brings the researcher closest to the subject of research. It is a dynamic process where there is an exchange between the researcher, participants, stakeholders, gatekeepers, the community and the larger sociopolitical context in which the research problem is located. Ethical dilemmas that surface during fieldwork often pose a unique challenge to the researcher. This paper is based on field experiences during an action research study conducted with a human rights perspective. It discusses the role conflict that researchers face during fieldwork in a situation of humanitarian crisis. It raises issues pertaining to the need to extend the ethical decision-making paradigm to address ethical dilemmas arising during the course of fieldwork.

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