Doing Sensitive Research Sensitively: Ethical and Methodological Issues in Researching Workplace Bullying

Declan Fahie

Abstract


Complex ethical and methodological issues can sometimes arise when conducting research into sensitive topics. By employing an autobiographic approach to explore the personal dilemmas that arose for the author while undertaking doctoral research on workplace bullying in Irish education, this article highlights potential difficulties and tensions which may arise for researchers (particularly those at the beginning of their careers) when conducting sensitive research. Specific attention is paid to the importance of protecting the researcher from harm, the exiting of the research relationship in an appropriate manner, and the necessity of anticipating potential problems before they become manifest.

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