Three common areas of ethical dilemmas in qualitative research are:

  • Conflict of interest.
  • Research with vulnerable and protected populations.
  • Self as subject.

In your discussion post, describe each of these common areas of  ethical dilemma in detail. In addition, describe the ethical issues that  might arise in your study. In your qualitative research plan in Unit  10, you will explain how you will deal with these three issues. Keep in  mind that all research involving human subjects includes ethical  considerations, unless the researcher uses only secondary sources.


Conflict of Interest When referring to a conflict of interest, the research takes into account the potential for dual relationships, vulnerable populations, or bias data collection (Capella, n.d.). The researcher must examine whether their research may involve any conflicts of interest by evaluating these details. In doing this, a plan can be put into place to ensure preparation before research and tackling issues if they do occur during. Within a Qualitative study, this means we must ensure that all questions delivered remain open-ended and not leading. Especially in cases where the population may be answering questions about their personal experiences. Coding data following collecting answers will help process these data into the appropriate areas, reducing bias as well. Vulnerable and Protected Populations Vulnerable or protected populations such as children, seniors, prisoners, cognitively impaired persons, or employees are susceptible to risks of coercion, influence, or intimidation with a study. As such, these specific populations are not allowed to participate in the study, and would violate principles of respect and beneficence (HHS, 2016). The Belmont Report was delivered to help design guidelines in which researchers could abide by such guidelines of human dignity, respect, and protection. As such, my study would require that I work with BCBA’s in which I am not personally working with. Additionally, I will not work directly with children that may be involved in the caseload of the BCBA’s being studied.  Self as Subject As a researcher, one could also be a study participant. This, however, poses challenges and ethical issues due to its nature. A study involving one’s own experiences holds potentially biased data. This vulnerability to bias must be established if such data is to be used, and must be scrutinized in a structured analytical process to ensure accuracy of data (Patton, 2015). Ethical dilemmas such as reliving potentially traumatic experiences, subjective data, and respecting participant rights must be considered to ensure an effective, non-biased, ethical study. Ethical Considerations for Proposed Study The main ethical issues I may need to consider in this proposed study is a conflict of interest. Being that I am a working BCBA myself, the recruitment of similar BCBA’s may pose a potential for coming across BCBA’s I already interact with and talk to. To ensure a larger range of participants and ensure I don’t run into issues where my participants are individuals I already interact with, I will recruit at least 15-20 individuals and then deliver a preliminary questionnaire to ensure they meet the participant demographic criteria I am looking for such as, currently a working BCBA, and had a child within 1 year of study. Any identifying information would be omitted from study and personal details kept private to ensure dignity and respect for participants. Again, while I do not foresee any ethical issues, it is possible I may come across a participant that I have conversed with personally in the field. A risk assessment should be conducted to determine that no psychological, social, or physical harm may come to any participant. Finally a determination on whether any prior relationship may be known to eliminate any personally connected BCBA’s from the study to remove the potential bias of information. Conflicts of interest, self as a subject, or study of vulnerable populations must be reviewed before conducting a qualitative study to ensure its conducted in an ethical manner per the HHS, the IRB, and Capella University. (HHS, 2016; Capella, n.d.; Capella, 2016). Natasha Bouchillon References: Capella University. (n.d.) Institutional Review Board (IRB). Retrieved from Capella University. (2016). Assessing risk in research. Retrieved from Department of Health & Human Services. (2016). The belmont report. Retrieved from Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.