Confidentiality revisited

Journal of Academic Ethics 6 (2):161-172 (2008)
This article challenges the importance and necessity of confidentiality, which are often taken for granted, and questions whether the default promise of confidentiality to all participants, particularly in educational research, could in fact be an unnecessary concern. This article begins by reviewing the difference in the way confidentiality is handled in different fields and the applicability of some underlying assumptions. This is followed by an explanation of why confidentiality is investigated in the sense of anonymity in this article. Then the article draws on an empirical study where original researchers and their original participants were interviewed about their views on anonymity. Lastly, the contradiction between the promises of confidentiality and the recognition of a participant’s contribution is highlighted. The article concludes with a call for more empirical observation and investigation into the importance of confidentiality.
Keywords Confidentiality  Pseudonym  Anonymity  Educational research  Qualitative research
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