PhDeaf vlogcast episode 2: ethics and research topics

By Mette Sommer, Sanchayeeta Iyer and Ine Martens, in International Sign

As an extension of our first vlog cast on how we picked our PhD topic, we also discuss the need to consider whether our research topic is feasible and ethical. As an example, Mette conducted research with a small group of deaf business owners in Denmark, who had set up their own businesses. When she started collecting data, there were issues with fraud within the sign language interpreting services funded by the government. This affected her decision-making when considering methods for this research. Sanchu originally wanted to focus her research on experiences of migration with children and youth, however it was difficult to obtain ethical approval in this area. She therefore changed her focus to adult deaf women. The COVID pandemic too had a significant impact on data collection. Ine had some ethical considerations regarding anonymity, for example using observations in the private sphere of people’s homes, some of which involved her own flat and flatmate. Such considerations need to be included when deciding on a PhD research topic and the feasibility of carrying out this research.

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