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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123

Abstract

ROBLES-SILVA, Leticia. Ethical dilemmas in fieldwork: forgotten issues in qualitative health research in Iberoamerica. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.3, pp. 603-612. ISSN 1413-8123.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232012000300005.

This paper explores some ethical dilemmas faced while doing fieldwork. Ethical norms are not enough to appraise the relationship between researchers and participants; a reflexivity practice is needed to understand the dilemmas aroused during this process. Here four issues faced during fieldwork are presented. The academic social time usually defines the schedule of fieldwork; hence, the researcher may decide to follow the academic schedule or to arrange a different schedule with informants. Researchers usually decide which part of their identity will be disclosed for introducing themselves to the informants; but may also decide to hide who really he/she is. Researchers may cope with the dilemma to disclose their private life to informants during the fieldwork. Researchers also may decide to behave according to academic cultural norms of reciprocity or according to the cultural norms of participants. Finally, a reflexivity movement should be developed in Iberoamerica to define an agenda on ethical issues and to develop decolonizing strategies to debate these ethical dilemmas.

Keywords : Ethics; Fieldwork; Reflexivity; Qualitative health research.

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