Ethical and Friendly Researchers, but not Insiders: A Response to Blodgett, Boyer, and Turk


  • Michelle K. McGinn Brock University



research ethics, researcher-partici­pant relationships, insider-outsider roles, subject-centered perspective


This commentary is a response to the article by Lisa J. BLODGETT, Wanda BOYER, and Emily TURK (2005) in this issue of FQS. The original article describes ethical challenges and relational issues within a large, ongoing, qualitative study about the development of self-regulation in early childhood. Those authors focus in particular upon: (a) obtaining free and informed consent, (b) working with vulnerable populations, and (c) bal­ancing insider and outsider roles. I identify some key strengths of the research that may provide use­ful models for other researchers, while cautioning against the evident overgeneralization of the term "insider." BLODGETT et al. clearly demonstrate that they are ethical and friendly researchers, but they are not insiders in the daycare settings where their research takes place. I conclude with a call for researchers to seriously consider and empirically document what it might mean to adopt a subject-centered perspective on research ethics. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0503375


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Author Biography

Michelle K. McGinn, Brock University

Michelle K. MCGINN is an Associate Professor and research methodologist in the Faculty of Education at Brock University. Her two main research emphases include: (a) researcher development in social science disciplines, and (b) feelings of marginalization and belonging in academe. She is the past Vice-Chair of the Research Ethics Board at Brock University and a current member of the Social Sciences and Humanities Special Working Committee on Research Ethics (SSHWC), a national committee that reports to the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (PRE) in Canada.




How to Cite

McGinn, M. K. (2005). Ethical and Friendly Researchers, but not Insiders: A Response to Blodgett, Boyer, and Turk. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(3).



FQS Debate: Qualitative Research and Ethics