My Auto/Ethnographic Dilemma: Who Owns the Story?
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- Barton, B. Qual Sociol (2011) 34: 431. doi:10.1007/s11133-011-9197-x
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This article explores ethical issues of co-mingled data, demarcating the field and informed consent in a study researching the consequences of Christian fundamentalist ideology on the lives of “Bible Belt gays”. When what constitutes informed consent is ambiguous, how does the qualitative researcher justify her decision either to include or exclude meaningful data? To illustrate these ethical issues, I analyze four instances of co-mingled data, two featuring Christian fundamentalists and two Bible Belt gays, in which I gain theoretical insights under conditions of blurry consent, and weigh potential harm to subjects against the liberatory goals of the project.