Reporting and dissemination


Ethics issues in analysis are of course specific to your methods.  Different issues will arise, for example, depending on whether your research involves human participants, whether it entails secondary data analysis, or whether it is a review.  Key issues that you may need to reflect on include the following:

  • How are participants identified?
  • How is anonymisation done? 
  • Do the participants have a right to be named in reporting your research?   
  • In secondary analysis there are specific questions such as the possibility of identifying individual cases and permission to use the data. 
  • In analysis - including primary analysis and in secondary analysis and reviews, what is your ethical responsibility to the people who conducted the original research and the people who participated in this research? 

The topic of your research will determine your research questions and the nature of the analysis that you do, but it is important to reflect on how you can make sure that you are fair and impartial in your presentation of the breadth and depth of your data.  Are you reporting positives as well as negatives?  Strengths as well as challenges or difficulties?  The nature of social science research means that we are often concerned with researching difficulties or potentially vulnerable groups, and - unless we reflect - this can mean that analysis can problematise participants.  Could your focus mean you are neglecting to analyse participant strengths, or their own perspectives on their experiences?  Can you address that in your analytic strategy?