Qualitative research on police stop & search practices: on ethical challenges and doing science

Activiteit: Talk or presentation at a workshop/seminar


Doing ethnographic research with the police is not unusual. In the past, various researchers frequently used this kind of technique and also today many young researchers resort to it in their quest of valuable data on the police institute and its members. Nevertheless, there is a downside to ethnographic research. Indeed, it involves a lot of traps in which the researchers can easily get stuck. The intensive period of living together can trigger a risk of going native and the researcher may get information which he had rather not become aware of. In short, the strengths of ethnography appear to be also its weaknesses.

In this study we will ask the participants details about their profession and maybe even their private lives. This means that our research will involve working with personal (and therefore private) data which will be obtained on the condition of an anonymity warranty, implying that the people who provide these data have to be fully protected. Under no circumstances may they feel hurt or recognise themselves in the published data.

Because of these reasons we decided to submit our research to the ethical commission for human sciences linked to this university. This allowed us in the first place to reflect about the possible ethical and methodological problems with which we could be confronted. By thinking thoroughly about the possible ways to solve them and by consulting publications of other researchers, we felt somehow more prepared.
Periode7 dec 2017
EvenementstitelAssEt: Assessing ethics in research: Research & Ethics conference
LocatieBrussels, Belgium
Mate van erkenningNational