[URBANTH-L]a question concerning methods/ethics

Calliope77 at aol.com Calliope77 at aol.com
Thu Jul 30 01:06:31 EDT 2009

Hi Fethi,
I have never actually had a participant specifically ask to use their real  
name. If it did happen, I would likely discourage it. First, I don't think 
an  IRB would approve of it. Also, the participant may not be aware of 
future  consequences or repercussions of using their real name. They may not be 
aware of  who will be able to access the study, where it may appear in future 
 publications, etc. While it may depend on the research topic, I likely 
would  tell my participant that I am ethically obligated to use pseudonyms. 
However, I  have not seen any formal information on this. It is an interesting 
Marni Finkelstein
In a message dated 7/29/2009 9:40:17 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
fkeles at maxwell.syr.edu writes:


I would like to receive opinions on the following  issue, if possible.

What most everyone does when we write things up is  to change names and use 
pseudonyms etc. etc. But, what do you do if an  informant a) specifically 
asks to be identified with his/her actual name in  your study (book, article 
whatever) b) says s/he doesn't care/wouldn't mind if  you were to use 
his/her actual name?

I feel the answer to this must be  more than 'well go ahead and do as s/he 
says', for there could be a whole lot  of other implications if one does so. 
Any readings you would suggest? What  courses of action would be on the 
table in the two cases above?

Any  thoughts will be appreciated. Thank you.

Fethi Keles
PhD Candidate  in Cultural Anthropology
Maxwell  School
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