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Karin Lindsjö

Programme coordinator

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Research in a development setting: Ethical concerns during fieldwork in Tanzania


  • Karin Lindsjö


  • Katarina Jacobsson
  • Katarina Sjöberg

Summary, in English

This chapter discusses ethical concerns when conducting fieldwork on a sensitive topic in a development setting. Research on AIDS has been conducted in various settings and within various fields of science since its outbreak and has raised ethical dilemmas for the researchers. In this chapter the issues of fieldwork, vulnerable groups, power relations and sensitive research are discussed. The practice of using informed consent and securing anonymity for the participants is considered necessary within all qualitative research in the social sciences and therefore more of a practical part of the fieldwork. It is concluded that all research ought to have a high ethical standard no matter what the geographical location is, but perhaps this results in a greater responsibility for the researcher conducting research in a foreign setting in which he/she needs to be sensitive to the local context and be aware of the purposes and possible consequences of the study. A high level of awareness of one’s own interests in the field and of the potential outcomes for the participants could make a difference in avoiding doing harm to the researched. However, it is nonetheless questionable whether we as researchers can guarantee that the research will actually ‘do good’ to the respondents.


  • Department of Human Geography

Publishing year







Pondering on methods. A variety of methodological concerns

Document type

Book chapter


Faculty of Social Sciences, Lund University


  • Human Geography


  • ethics
  • sensitive research
  • power relations
  • vulnerable groups
  • fieldwork




  • ISBN: 91-7267-340-0