Ethical challenges of life story research with ex-prisoners with intellectual disability

Ellem, Kathleen, Wilson, Jill, Chui, Wing Hong, & Knox, Marie F. (2008) Ethical challenges of life story research with ex-prisoners with intellectual disability. Disability & Society, 23(5), pp. 497-509.

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This paper outlines the ethical considerations when engaging in life story research with ex-prisoners with intellectual disability. Based on a study conducted in Queensland, Australia, the authors explore some of the challenges that have arisen through the lens of principle-based ethics. The significant disadvantage experienced by ex-prisoners with intellectual disability warrants further attention by social researchers, and care must be taken not to further harm this group through the research process. Issues pertaining to the broad ethical concepts of integrity, justice, respect for persons and beneficence are examined to identify the degree to which they can guide the actions of the life story researcher. Examples are given as to how the researcher responded to difficulties as they arose and the authors discuss ways forward from a principle-based approach.

Impact and interest:

12 citations in Scopus
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9 citations in Web of Science®

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138 since deposited on 21 Apr 2009
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ID Code: 18178
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Intellectual disability, Learning disability, Life story research, Prison, Ethical challenges
DOI: 10.1080/09687590802177064
ISSN: 0968-7599
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Criminology not elsewhere classified (160299)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > APPLIED ETHICS (220100) > Professional Ethics (incl. police and research ethics) (220107)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Past > Schools > Social Work & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Disability & Society on 29 July 2008, available online at:
Deposited On: 21 Apr 2009 00:00
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2014 23:01

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