Visual Research Ethics at the Crossroads

Prosser, Jon and Clark, Andrew and Wiles, Rose (2008) Visual Research Ethics at the Crossroads. NCRM Working Paper. Realities, Morgan Centre, Manchester, UK.


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This paper provides an overview of the debates and practices that shape visual research ethics. We outline the requirements and expectations of institutional ethics review boards and legal frameworks, for example regarding filming and photographing in public and issues of copyright. We contend that legal and institutional requirements should not be the sole determinants when making decisions about ethics but rather must be situated within the research context and accommodated in a researcher’s individual moral framework. We suggest that visual methods, and the data they produce, challenge some of the ethical practices associated with word and number based research, in particular around informed consent, anonymity and confidentiality, and dissemination strategies. Overall, we argue that research ethics are contested, dynamic and contextual and as such, are best approached through detailed understanding of the concrete, everyday situations in which they are applied. The title of this paper ‘visual ethics at the crossroads’ is metaphorical, indicating that visual research has reached an important juncture and signifying it is timely to take stock and move in new direction.

Item Type:Working Paper (NCRM Working Paper)
Subjects:2. Data Collection > 2.9 Visual Methods
4. Qualitative Data Handling and Data Analysis > 4.13 Visual Data Analysis
8. Research Management and Impact > 8.3 Research Ethics
ID Code:535
Deposited By: Realities user
Deposited On:05 Mar 2009 15:27
Last Modified:12 Oct 2010 17:40

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