Srikant Sarangi. Photo: Alborg Univiversity
Srikant Sarangi. Photo: Aalborg University

Compliance with institutional protocols on research ethics in the practical conduct of research and its dissemination is a prerequisite in empirically grounded studies, including studies undertaken with an applied- and socio-linguistic mentality in workplace and institutional/professional settings. However, the many contingencies underlying decision making at the eclectic level remain largely unexplored. On the one hand, the one-size-fit-all research ethics framework, originating in biomedicine and clinical practice, is often deemed unsuitable for researchers in the human and social sciences. On the other hand, human and social science researchers confront a number of ethical challenges in their empirical research journey that do not receive favourable attention from established research ethics committees and funding bodies.

In this presentation, I delineate the ethical nuances/contingencies involved in conducting empirical research in the human and social sciences along four dimensions: ethics of access; ethics of participation; ethics of interpretation; and ethics of dissemination/intervention. I illustrate each dimension with exemplars to bring out some of the overarching paradoxes in qualitative inquiry.