Ethical Issues in Qualitative Nursing Research

Nursing Ethics 2 (3):223-232 (1995)
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Abstract

This article is concerned with ethical issues that have to be considered when under taking qualitative research. Some of the issues - such as informed consent, the dignity and privacy of the research subjects, voluntary participation and protection from harm - are the same as in other types of research and have their basis in moral and ethical principles. Qualitative research, however, generates specific ethical problems because of the close relationship that researchers form with participants. Qualitative research with patients is especially difficult because of their vulnerability and lack of power in the clinical situation. Therefore the potential conflict between the dual role of the nurse - the professional and the research roles - has to be solved. Researchers also learn how to cope with the tension of subjective and objective elements of the research. Nurses who attempt qualitative research have to consider a variety of complex ethical issues, which are addressed in this paper.

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