Although the dominant approach to confidentiality is widely used, it is not mandatory and is not the only way to process the data that interviewees could identify. The alternative approach provides practical guidance to reduce uncertainty about the use of detailed data that could lead to deductive disclosure. The alternative approach resolves the inadequacies of the dominant approach by 1) better informing respondents about the use of the data (i.e. who is the public for the results of the study and how the results of the study are disseminated) and 2) by introducing practical measures to facilitate dialogue with respondents about the use of their data (i.e., the revision of the consent process). I discuss these two dimensions of the alternative approach below, followed by a discussion on internal audit committees. The introduction of a post-interview confidentiality form involves additional work for the researcher. However, as has already been mentioned, it appears that the interviewee is more clearly responsible for the question of whether data can be published or shared with others. The use of the form can lead respondents to define much of their data as publication limits. However, some studies suggest that this may be the opposite – interviewees may express a desire to publish data that researchers would have considered too sensitive to publish. Researchers tend to react to representations of painful emotions from interviewees to indicate that disclosing their data would be detrimental to them; However, respondents want this data to be published because they feel strengthened by the transmission of data or feel they are helping others in some way (Beck, 2005; Carter et al., 2008; Dyregrov, 2004; Hynson et al., 2006; James platzer, 1999; Wiles et al., 2006).
In this article, I argue that deductive disclosure should be addressed through public considerations of its own research and a new informed consent process. The theoretical basis for current privacy practices has been discussed elsewhere (Baez, 2002). However, the literature on research design, research ethics and the ethical code of the American Socio-Economic Association (ASA) does not say much about how to manage the risk of deductive disclosure when detailed qualitative data are presented (Tolich, 2004). I fill this gap in the literature by taking a hands-on approach to managing privacy issues. I will start with an example of my own research on breast cancer survivors to illustrate the privacy dilemmas faced by quality researchers. I will then discuss standard approaches to dealing with the confidentiality of interviewees and an alternative approach. As part of the dominant approach, confidentiality is addressed during research planning (i.e., developing proposals and obtaining approval by ethics assessment committees) and on three points in the research process: data collection, data cleanup and dissemination of research results. Guillemin and Gillam (2004) describe the search authorization process as “procedural ethics.” They note that while procedural ethics is useful in encouraging researchers to think about ethical issues, it is, to a large extent, a formality that cannot address the specific ethical dilemmas that arise in qualitative research.
That is why I focus primarily on the confidentiality of data collection, cleaning and dissemination of data, although I come back to the question of the requests below. What I consider to be a “dominant approach” is perhaps the most common approach to protecting the confidentiality of sociology interviewees. If data cannot be collected anonymously, i.e. without identifying information (Sieber, 1992), researchers must collect, analyze and disclose data without compromising the identity of their respondents.