Encountering ethics in studying challenging family relations
Notko, M., Jokinen, K., Kuronen, M., Pirskanen, H., Malinen, K., & Harju-Veijola, M. (2013). Encountering ethics in studying challenging family relations. Families, Relationships and Societies, 2 (3), 395-408. doi:10.1332/204674313X665085
Published inFamilies, Relationships and Societies
© Policy Press, 2013. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Policy Press. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
This article focuses on ethical considerations in the study of challenging family relations. Our perspective derives from multidisciplinary family studies, including social sciences, psychology and educational sciences. Our concerns include why and how to apply a sensitive approach in studying challenging family relations, and what the key ethical issues are in studies of this kind. We examine questions of multiplicity in family relations, the particularity of vulnerable family relations and the roles of researchers and gatekeepers in the research process. The article is based on a research project where informants were both children and adults, and both qualitative and quantitative data were collected. We argue that doing ethically appropriate research requires much more than formal assessments or ethical board reviews. We claim that rigid ethical regulations may even prevent studies from finding hard-to-reach families or impede the giving of a voice to those who would benefit most from being heard in family studies and in family politics. ...