Anonymity, Confidentiality and De-identified Data
- 233 Downloads
Anonymity is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “of unknown name, unknown or unclear sources or authorship, without character, featureless, impersonal.” However, within the social sciences, the concept of anonymity can have a less absolute interpretation allowing for a person’s identity to be disguised by pseudonyms. Some research council funding policies encourage this practice by mandating the storage of anonymized data for future unspecified research. Yet qualitative research data can only be stripped of identifiers; it cannot be anonymized. To understand the difference between an unknown anonymous source and a disguised confidential source, it is important to consider four nuances of data collection; first, how differently the process of informed consent is enacted in quantitative and qualitative research; second, while the concept external confidentiality appears in ethical guidelines, its inverse internal confidentiality does not, for example, the failure to...
- Corti L, Day A, Backhouse G (2000) Confidentiality and informed consent: issues for consideration in the preservation of and provision of access to qualitative data archives. Forum Qual Soc Res 1(3). Retrieved from www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1024/2207
- ESRC Research Data Policy (2015) Economic and Social Research Council. Retrieved from http://www.esrc.ac.uk/files/about-us/policies-and-standards/esrc-research-data-policy/
- Muchmore JA (2002) Methods and ethics in a life history study of teacher thinking. Qual Rep 7(4):1–17Google Scholar
- Whyte WF (1981 ) Street corner society: the social structure of an Italian slum. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar