- Ethical issues in irregular migration research
- Number of pages
- [S.l.]: CLANDESTINO
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This paper is concerned with the ethical issues arising for researchers engaged in the study of irregular migration. Irregular migration is by definition an elusive phenomenon as it takes place in violation of the law and at the margins of society. This very nature of the phenomenon raises important issues of sensitivity of the question, vulnerability of the research subjects, and a series of ethical issues to be addressed when conducting fieldwork with irregular migrants, as well as at the stage of analysis of data, processing and disseminating the findings of the research. In the first part of this report we define research ethics and briefly outline their development during the last decades in the social sciences. We also consider the relevance of research ethics for the study of irregular migration. The following section discusses the differences between sensitivity and vulnerability and their particular implications for irregular migration research. Section three looks at the ethical challenges involved in fieldwork and discusses the sensitive issues involved in the relationship between researcher, irregular migrant and society. Ethical issues on data protection and the ethical challenges involved in the production and use of quantitative data on irregular migration are considered in the fourth section. Section five discusses the question of disseminating findings (qualitative or quantitative) to wider audiences. In conclusion, we highlight the key points that researchers should take into consideration when studying irregular migrant populations.
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