International congress of qualitative inquiry edition:10 location:Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA date:21-24 May 2014
The use of images and visual data in qualitative research projects poses new ethical challenges, particularly in the context of participatory research projects that engage research participants in conducting fieldwork. Little is known about how research participants deal with the ethical challenges involved in conducting fieldwork, or whether they succeed in making balanced ethical judgments in collecting images of identifiable people and places. We identified ethical obstacles and challenges research participants encounter as well as the response mechanisms they develop to respond to these challenges. From an inductive analysis of interview data generated from nine participants recently involved in a photovoice research project we conclude that raising awareness about ethical aspects of conducting visual research increases research participant’s sensitivity toward ethical issues related to privacy, anonymity and confidentiality of research subjects. However, personal reasons and ethical dilemmas also prompt avoidance behavior that may influence our understanding of a photographed event.