Confidentiality in Qualitative Research Involving Vulnerable Participants: Researchers' Perspectives

Adrianna Danuta Surmiak


In this article, I analyze the ways researchers manage the issue of confidentiality in studies with vulnerable research participants in the Polish context, which is characterized by a relatively low degree of ethics and data protection legislation in the social sciences. I am primarily interested in what approach researchers take on confidentiality and how this informs their research practice. I also consider how they attempt to protect confidentiality in their research. The analysis is based on in-depth interviews and e-mail correspondence with 42 Polish qualitative researchers who deal with vulnerable groups and individuals. In addition, I discuss what my interviewees themselves consider to be confidential in the context of my research with them.


confidentiality; anonymization; vulnerable research participants; ethics; qualitative research; Poland

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Copyright (c) 2018 Adrianna Danuta Surmiak

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