How an exchange of perspectives led to tentative ethical guidelines for visual ethnography
Pope, C.C., De Luca, R. & Tolich, M. (2010). How an exchange of perspectives led to tentative ethical guidelines for visual ethnography. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 33(3), 301-315.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/4950
Qualitative research, especially visual ethnography, is an iterative not a linear process, replete with good intentions, false starts, mistaken assumptions, miscommunication and a continually revised statement of the problem. That the camera freezes everything and everyone in the frame only complicates ethical considerations. This work, jointly authored by the researcher, the Research Ethics Committee (REC) chair and an informed outsider, walks the reader through the ethical challenges the researcher experienced seeking REC approval to conduct a visual ethnography of a secondary school's rowing event. Eventually, the researcher found the challenges and ambiguities of informed consent indicative of the current issues facing many researchers working with the visual medium. The account fleshes out a procedural ethics and ethics in practice dichotomy and ends with the researcher and REC chair retrospectively contemplating the iterative ethics of visual ethnography. We conclude our conversation by proposing five tentative guidelines for visual ethnography researchers and their research ethics committees.
Taylor & Francis
- Education Papers