Ethical Issues in Insider-Outsider Research

Author: Toy-Cronin, Bridgette

Date: 2018

Publisher: SAGE Publishing

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University of Otago


A substantial literature has developed within the humanities and social sciences about ‘insider research.’ This article considers the advantages (including greater access, understanding and rapport) and disadvantages (lack of critical distance, subjectivity and bias) of conducting insider research. The author discusses ethical issues that can arise when an insider of any type conducts a qualitative study. The article concludes that, while it is not possible to anticipate all ethical issues at the outset of a project, it is possible to anticipate and consider how relationships might change, how the identity of participants can be protected and how the complexity of the group role versus the research role might be navigated.

Subjects: Ethical Issues, Qualitative Research, Research Methods

Citation: ["Toy-Cronin, B. (2018). Ethical issues in insider-outsider research. In R. Iphofen & M. Tolich (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative research ethics. (pp. 455-469). London, UK: SAGE."]