Main Article Content
This paper discusses six categories of key ethical issues that are important to consider when using visual methods in social research. The categories were identified during workshop discussions with researchers working across disciplines and using a range of visual methods. They have been used to inform guidelines for the ethical conduct of research using visual methods. The categories represent both familiar and emerging ethical challenges. They include widely accepted strategies for meeting ethical obligations to ensure participants’ informed consent, to maintain confidentiality, and to design and conduct research that minimises harm. Three further categories represent more novel ethical issues that are particularly prominent in visual methods: managing fuzzy boundaries around the multiple purposes that visual research may serve, addressing questions of authorship and ownership of visual products generated during research, and dealing with representation and audiences when disseminating research findings. In this paper we reflect on the tensions and challenges these issues raise for researchers working with visual methods, and consider potential strategies to address these challenges. By identifying and critiquing ethical issues that are prominent in visual methods, this paper contributes to a growing body of work that aims to ensure the ethical conduct of visual research.
All articles published "open access" will be immediately and permanently free for everyone to read, download, copy and distribute. Permitted reuse under user licence CC-BY is defined as follows:
Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY): lets others distribute and copy the article, to create extracts, abstracts, and other revised versions, adaptations or derivative works of or from an article (such as a translation), to include in a collective work (such as an anthology), to text or data mine the article, even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit the author(s), do not represent the author as endorsing their adaptation of the article, and do not modify the article in such a way as to damage the author’s honor or reputation.
Photographs, graphics, images, maps, diagrams and other figures each have their own separate copyright based on their source. Please check the source before copying these. Most graphics are fully copyrighted with “all rights reserved”, which means you need written permission from the author or owner to copy and re-use the graphic. Authors are responsible for obtaining from the copyright holder permission to reproduce any material for which copyright exists.
The publishers and editorial board wish to make it clear that the data and opinions appearing in published items in VM are the sole responsibility of the contributors or advertisers concerned. The publishers and the editorial board accept no responsibility or liability whatsoever for the consequences of any inaccurate or misleading date, opinion, or statement.