Protecting respondent confidentiality in qualitative research

Qual Health Res. 2009 Nov;19(11):1632-41. doi: 10.1177/1049732309350879.


For qualitative researchers, maintaining respondent confidentiality while presenting rich, detailed accounts of social life presents unique challenges. These challenges are not adequately addressed in the literature on research ethics and research methods. Using an example from a study of breast cancer survivors, I argue that by carefully considering the audience for one's research and by reenvisioning the informed consent process, qualitative researchers can avoid confidentiality dilemmas that might otherwise lead them not to report rich, detailed data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Confidentiality / ethics*
  • Ethics, Research*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Researcher-Subject Relations / ethics*
  • Survivors / psychology