I find it surprising how few accounts of visual methods practice include more than passing consideration of the ethical issues that accompany these techniques. The IVSA Code of Research Ethics and Guidelines provides a general overview of best practice, but it seems that more nuanced ethical issues – and how they pertain to particular research techniques – remain murky at best.
At this point I have lots of questions and very few answers. I hope that we might be able to engage in critical reflection and dialogue on some of the following issues:
protecting participant confidentiality and anonymity when using visual images and representations
how to secure informed content in research contexts where visual techniques are being used specifically because communication is difficult
ensuring professional responsibility and competence when using/developing new or experimental methods
research biases and how visual methods either get around or fall victim to these
ethical considerations when working with visual representations (either photographic or more abstract) of research participants
special considerations when working with vulnerable populations
inclusion of research participants in developing ethical research standards and practices for a particular research project
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