The moral consequences of studying the vulnerable: Court mandated reporting and beyond.
Fisher, E. (2009). The moral consequences of studying the vulnerable: Court mandated reporting and beyond. Narrative Inquiry, 19(1). pp. 18-34.
Abstract: Qualitative researchers studying children through the use of narratives face a particular set of ethical challenges as they relate to the need to report issues of abuse and neglect. These challenges are compounded by the lack of a court mandate to report abuse, for without such a mandate researchers are left to decide whether a case merits reporting and, if so, whether they are the ones responsible to do so. While researchers may be reluctant to support a mandate, citing issues of confidentiality, lack of training, harm to research outcomes, and social and political ramifications, it is argued herein that they have a moral imperative to report. Thus, to remain a silent bystander to suspected abuse ultimately results in complicity to the injustice. More generally, it is also argued that the role of the dispassionate researcher, committed to his or her data alone, must be suspended in order to protect vulnerable populations. (Abstract kindly reproduced with permission from John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam )