The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

In defence of anonymity: rejoining the criticism

Kelly, Anthony (2009) In defence of anonymity: rejoining the criticism British Educational Research Journal, 35, (3), pp. 431-445. (doi:10.1080/01411920802044438).

Record type: Article


This article is a response to the growing criticisms of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) ethical guidelines on anonymity and pseudonymity as default positions for participants in qualitative educational research. It discusses and responds to those criticisms under four headings—illusion, impossibility and undesirability, access and quality—and extends the explication of difficulties to quantitative approaches using an example from value-added effectiveness research. The article discusses potential flaws in the arguments made against anonymous and pseudonymous research, and presents some issues for the research community to take forward. Finally, some suggestions are offered for a modified code of practice regarding anonymity and pseudonymity, which attempts a more subtle capture of difficulties in the field and qualifies the existing rationale to take account of previously unconsidered technical concerns.

PDF KELLY_In_defence_of_anonymity.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
Download (253kB)

More information

Published date: 19 June 2009
Additional Information: First published as an iFirst article 19 August 2008
Keywords: anonymity, research ethics, pseudonymity, research guidelines


Local EPrints ID: 63556
ISSN: 0141-1926
PURE UUID: c362844f-a1ba-4679-b472-72e9ade8014c
ORCID for Anthony Kelly: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Oct 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:16

Export record


Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.