The Ethics of Researching Those Who Are Close to You: The Case of the Abandoned ADD Project

Sep. 25, 2008

Source: Educational Action Research, Volume 16, Issue 3 September 2008 , pages 421 - 428


This article explores the ethical issues involved when researchers attempt to study participants who are personally close to them. It describes a case in which two researchers decided to study the experiences respectively of their son and grandson, both with ADD.
They had barely initiated the study when ethical concerns led them to abandon the project.
The authors relate the specific issues raised in the case to general issues of ethics in action research, such as anonymity, informed consent, collaboration, and the tension between the personal and professional.

Updated: Oct. 22, 2008