Next Article in Journal
Assessing Trust and Effectiveness in Virtual Teams: Latent Growth Curve and Latent Change Score Models
Next Article in Special Issue
Foundational Gender Theory for a Dangerous World: Intersectional Gender Seminar in the Fight against Rape Culture
Previous Article in Journal
Gender, Madness, Religion, and Iranian-American Identity: Observations on a 2006 Murder Trial in Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Previous Article in Special Issue
Feminisms and the Hijāb: Not Mutually Exclusive
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(3), 86; doi:10.3390/socsci6030086

“How Can You Write About a Person Who Does Not Exist?”: Rethinking Pseudonymity and Informed Consent in Life History Research

1
Department of Social Sciences, Northumbria University, Lipman Building, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK
2
Department of Business, Law, Policing and Social Sciences, University of Cumbria, Fusehill Street, Carlisle CA1 2HH, UK
Received: 30 April 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [202 KB, uploaded 2 August 2017]

Abstract

This methodology paper recommends that, when possible, qualitative research on activism should be designed to enable each participant to choose between using a pseudonym and one’s actual name. The stance is informed by life history data collection encounters with women in post-conflict settings whose activism seeks to eliminate violence against women and girls (VAWG). The benefits of accommodating a mix of names make this a viable alternative to the prevalent practice of obscuring all participants’ identities with pseudonyms. Writing about participants in a way that does no harm to them depends on the care and attention with which the researcher ascribes or dissociates data to or from them, regardless of the name used. Process consent is desirable as participants’ consent is not fully informed prior to data collection. One aspect of informed consent worthy of attention is the need to explain the methods of data analysis and presentation of findings to life history participants. The above practices help ensure that negotiating informed consent with participants whilst acting towards the principle of doing no harm are tailored to the particular features of the life history method. View Full-Text
Keywords: violence against women and girls; activism; life history research; methodology; ethics; anonymity; confidentiality; pseudonyms; informed consent violence against women and girls; activism; life history research; methodology; ethics; anonymity; confidentiality; pseudonyms; informed consent
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Mukungu, K. “How Can You Write About a Person Who Does Not Exist?”: Rethinking Pseudonymity and Informed Consent in Life History Research. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 86.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Soc. Sci. EISSN 2076-0760 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top