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Peer-Review Record

Who else Needs Protection? Reflecting on Researcher Vulnerability in Sensitive Research

Societies 2020, 10(1), 3;
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Societies 2020, 10(1), 3;
Received: 5 November 2019 / Revised: 13 December 2019 / Accepted: 20 December 2019 / Published: 22 December 2019

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report


The second footnote says ‘in cover letter’.  Will this be published with the article?  If not, a description is needed here for the readers.


Line 55:  Regarding Rowling’s observation of not being prepared for emotionality of research = this strikes me as similar to what counselors and therapists experience (e.g., burnout) and other caretakers (caretaker/caregiver burnout) and those in the helping profession (e.g., nursing) also experience.  Perhaps rooting this article in this literature would help situate these concerns within existing frameworks and terminology.  This article could be framed as extending this topic into a new domain – that of researchers.   Expanding on this broader literature would strengthen the paper. 


Findings:  Was any methodology used?  How were passages from diary notes selected?  How were the themes identified?  How were the data analysed?  Without a detailed description of the methods, I cannot evaluate the appropriateness of the findings or conclusions reached.  A detailed description of the data analysis and methods used are needed.

Author Response

1) as this footnote was identifying text it was temporarily removed during the review process. I have now reinserted this footnote into the article. 

2) I have attempted to root this article in literature related to the 'burnout' syndrome as well as extending it to a new domain or researchers working on sensitive topics and with people in emotional distress

3) re: methodology  (method, analysis , etc. ) this has been included in the article 

Thank you for all of these suggestions and your review

Reviewer 2 Report

The theme of the manuscript is innovative because, as stated throughout, the literature on sensitive research has usually focused on strategies and requirements to protect participants and has barely paid attention to the researcher. I also consider that it is a topic that has great interest and usefulness for all researchers working with ethnographic research and vulnerable groups, especially because it facilitates strategies to manage the emotions derived from working with this “sensitive information”.

However, the manuscript has some limitations that should be taken into account to improve its quality:

Make an effort to include a greater number of current appointments. Of the 43 references included, less than 10 are after 2010. In the discussion section, since these are not conclusions, I would make an effort to include a greater number of quotes that support and support the discourse. To close this section I would add a paragraph with a final conclusion, as well as another paragraph with the possible limitations of this work. State clearly what is the purpose of the work presented. I understand that "Analyze the emotional impact of distressing and painful research experiences on those who participate directly and not directly with the collection of research data." Likewise, a methodology section should appear in which the methodological process on which the team has been based to develop this work is clearly explained (techniques: researchers' diaries, discussion groups ...), participants (the work team, number and socio-demographic characteristics), analysis of the information ... It would give clarity to the manuscript and the silver results would be better understood: those three topics that are discussed. I would modify the summary including also some of this data and making reference to the main results and conclusions of the work. They should already be expressed in the summary itself.

Author Response

1) I have attempted to include some more recent references (an additional 5 papers, 4 of which have been published after 2010) and hopefully this is sufficient. Overall, this is not a large number but in a way reflects the paucity of literature on this neglected topic.

2) Yes, thank you for this suggestion. I have inserted a further quote from my reflexive journal that is a reflection of my position as supervisor.

3) I would prefer not to have a conclusion if this suitable. To quote something that I read recently but not sure where: 'good social research never concludes but should advance our thinking' which makes logical sense to me.

4) I have taken all the remaining suggestions into account and included them in the methods section if not mentioned in other pats of the article.

Thank you for this comprehensive review

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report


Reviewer 2 Report

I believe that the article can still be improved, taking into account some of the recommendations made in the previous review that have been overlooked.
-Reformulate the abstract to include at least: introduction, method, main results
-The methodology should be more thorough. The information provided remains insufficient to understand and replicate the research process.
-The discussion should incorporate more citations, recovered at least from the theoretical framework. If not only conclusions.

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