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Qualitative Research Methods - Book Report/Review Example

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Protection of confidentiality and privacy of data in organizational research is a critically important issue. The first and foremost justification of strict confidentiality and privacy of data is the assumption that study participants are likely to provide really credible and valid data only when they are sure the research properly protects disclosed information…
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Download file to see previous pages 94). This consideration seems to be particularly relevant in case of Kamenou who dealt with a sensitive and potentially embarrassing data.
As far as organizations are concerned through which formal access is often sought by organizational researchers, there are several other considerations. On the one hand, time, resources and general inconvenience often associated with granting a researcher access to study participants can be a fair price for potentially important findings. For example, in some cases study findings may be used by organizations to design appropriate reforms or changes and eventually benefit from them. On the other hand, there is always a possibility of an ethical and legal conflict unless privacy and confidentiality of disclosed information is kept properly. A classic work of Sieber (1982) lists six main reasons for confidentiality and privacy of information obtained from participants:
3. Names, addresses and other personal data relating to study participants is often kept by researchers for relatively long periods of time, which increases the risk of intentional or unintentional sharing with a third party.
Organisations and participants are always...
4. Research data can be subpoenaed by a court.
5. There is always a chance that the process of obtaining sensitive information may be constrained at any time due to creation of new confidentiality standards and laws.
6. And finally, participants often feel suspicious and unsure about the way in which information disclosed by them will be used by the researcher.
Organisations and participants are always aware - implicitly or explicitly - of these considerations, and the researcher often has to demonstrate great persuasive power to achieve his goals. The topic explored by Kamenou apparently belongs to the class of highly sensitive and embarrassing topics, therefore many of the above reasons materialized in overwhelming refusal of formally accessed organisations that might not even take time to consider possible benefits of Kamenou's research. Perhaps only the organisation that had eventually withdrawn from the study claiming "restructuring was in progress" (p.102) took time to weigh the benefits against potential efforts and risks, but perceived risks outweighed potential benefits.
In organisational research, the task of recruiting highly representative sample consisting of participants who provide credible information is very difficult. First of all it requires brilliant knowledge of sampling strategies and techniques as well as their possible uses, drawbacks and shortcomings. Unfortunately, even masterfully planned sampling strategy is likely to fail unless the researcher pays appropriate attention to the issues of confidentiality, privacy and ethics. Only consideration of these issues, coupled with the researcher's ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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