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Ethical Issues In Conducting Qualitative Research

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Discuss about the Ethical issues in conducting qualitative research.




Background of the case

The case study in this regard describes a case about a public servant called Han who is a developer employed under the state government. He has been appointed the job to develop a website for the tourism industry by his IT manager Sally. To make the webpage more appealing, Han had added links to global news services on the website. However, later it was found that these news links also featured few court cases which were under suppression order since they were still pending court orders. These created a huge embarrassment for the government since they featured on the website. Sally had never seen the website before its launch, however, it was impossible for her to check on every link that was being posted on the website. It was her responsibility now to stop the recurrence of this issue and also to impose responsibility.

With the help of the Thomas White methodology, the following case study would be evaluated to find a solution for this ethical dilemma.

Ethical Issues

According to the Thomas White methodology, it is essential that a person should go by all the consequences of the actions in question and their effect on people. Ethical issues only arise when a person cannot come to terms with his moral equilibrium with his actions.

In this case, Han, the developer, should have checked for any legal obligations before including a global news service link in the website. The news link provider should also have checked before publishing a news for the suppressed court orders (Shapiro and Stefkovich 2016). Again, Sally could also be held responsible for not testing the website before its launch as being the IT manager, it was her responsibility to test all the aspects of the website before it was made public.


Professional Issues

Professionally as well, Han and Sally both were wrong in certain aspects. It was Han’s responsibility to inform Sally, his manager, before implementing a news report link to brighten up the webpage. Again, Sally also had the duty to test the website before it was even launched.

Therefore, professionally, both the developer and the IT manager were at fault ( 2018). The ethical dilemma was raised because the actions were not thought through. Both of them had no idea how their decisions and actions could affect people.

Legal Issues

As per the Australian legislation of The Court Suppression and Non-Publication Act 2010 (NSW) (CSPO ACT) publication of any discrete information about suppressed court cases could be penalized (Butler & Rodrick 2015). Therefore, the publication of the details about these court cases have put Han and Sally into trouble as they have made these discrete information accessible to the public eye. This onus can also be imposed upon the news broadcast link provider who had initially held the information about the court cases in the first place. If Han and Sally were to be held responsible for the misconduct, the original news broadcaster could not be kept out of it as well.

Solution to the ethical dilemma

The only solution to the ethical dilemma Sally was going through was whom to impose the responsibility of the misconduct upon. As per the Australian law suggests, the person who made the discrete information public affecting the people related to the suppressed cases were to be blamed (Roberts 2015). This could either be the developer Han or the news broadcast website. After the case study is though through, it is virtuous that the news report website should be held responsible for not abiding by the Australian legislation.


Reference (2018). ACS - The Professional Association for Australia's ICT sector. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Mar. 2018].

Butler, D. A., and Rodrick, S. 2015. Australian media law. Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Limited.

Roberts, L.D., 2015. Ethical issues in conducting qualitative research in online communities. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 12(3), pp.314-325.

Shapiro, J. P. and Stefkovich, J. A. 2016. Ethical leadership and decision making: Applying theoretical perspectives to complex dilemmas. Routledge.

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