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Principles, virtues and care: ethical dilemmas in research with male sex offenders

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This paper considers ethical dilemmas associated with research with male sex offenders. It examines two particular areas in detail: dealing with the disclosure of previously undisclosed offences and managing the distress of research participants during interview. Within these areas there is discussion of ethical approaches to research. Principle-based approaches offer abstract guidelines that help to resolve certain issues, but at times they may fail to be sufficiently flexible in complex situations. Character-relationship approaches to ethics are more concerned with the practical process of research and focus on the dynamic aspects of ethical conduct in research practice. However, ethical approaches to research do not stand separate from other methodological issues. The paper considers the relationship between epistemological positions and ethical approaches and explores this through the analysis of a case study.

Keywords: epistemology; ethics; research methodologies; sex offenders

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Social Science & Humanities, Richmond Building, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2010


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