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Beyond anonymity: temporality and the production of knowledge in a qualitative longitudinal study

Beyond anonymity: temporality and the production of knowledge in a qualitative longitudinal study
Beyond anonymity: temporality and the production of knowledge in a qualitative longitudinal study
Anonymisation processes are an embedded, if contested, element of ethical research practice. Current debates, highlighting various challenges to anonymity, suggest the importance of situated ethics and negotiated solutions. However, the strategies adopted are necessarily mediated by the researcher’s epistemological positions. Longitudinal studies with their extended timeframes and intensive research relationships tend to amplify ethical dilemmas and highlight the contingency and fluidity of ethical processes. Here we explore how temporality intersects with epistemology in a qualitative longitudinal (QL) study of organisations located in a contemporary policy context. We reflect on the confidentiality and anonymity dilemmas that develop and change over time, the strategies adopted and the implications of these for the type of knowledge produced. We suggest that QL studies entail flexibility within epistemological frameworks. These issues have particular resonance and consequences for researchers in light of contemporary pressures around public scrutiny of academic performance and wider debates around public sociology.
qualitative longitudinal research, epistemology, anonymity, confidentiality, situated ethics
1364-5579
281-292
Taylor, Rebecca
5c52e191-4620-4218-8a61-926c62e087c5
Taylor, Rebecca
5c52e191-4620-4218-8a61-926c62e087c5

Taylor, Rebecca (2015) Beyond anonymity: temporality and the production of knowledge in a qualitative longitudinal study. [in special issue: New Frontiers in Qualitative Longitudinal Research] International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 18 (3), 281-292. (doi:10.1080/13645579.2015.1017901).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Anonymisation processes are an embedded, if contested, element of ethical research practice. Current debates, highlighting various challenges to anonymity, suggest the importance of situated ethics and negotiated solutions. However, the strategies adopted are necessarily mediated by the researcher’s epistemological positions. Longitudinal studies with their extended timeframes and intensive research relationships tend to amplify ethical dilemmas and highlight the contingency and fluidity of ethical processes. Here we explore how temporality intersects with epistemology in a qualitative longitudinal (QL) study of organisations located in a contemporary policy context. We reflect on the confidentiality and anonymity dilemmas that develop and change over time, the strategies adopted and the implications of these for the type of knowledge produced. We suggest that QL studies entail flexibility within epistemological frameworks. These issues have particular resonance and consequences for researchers in light of contemporary pressures around public scrutiny of academic performance and wider debates around public sociology.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 17 January 2015
Published date: 1 April 2015
Keywords: qualitative longitudinal research, epistemology, anonymity, confidentiality, situated ethics
Organisations: Social Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 375208
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/375208
ISSN: 1364-5579
PURE UUID: 5c904c9f-229d-4a50-979c-b445fc984ec7
ORCID for Rebecca Taylor: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8677-0246

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Mar 2015 11:39
Last modified: 09 Nov 2021 03:32

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