Ethical cleansing?: A case study of deliberate deception as a justifiable research approach within a NHS Trust

Kitchener, David A. ORCID: 0000-0003-1057-9813 (2009) Ethical cleansing?: A case study of deliberate deception as a justifiable research approach within a NHS Trust. In: Research and Innovation Conference 2009, June 2009, Bolton. (Submitted)

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This paper describes a small scale research exercise conducted in a north west of England hospital trust involving 15 cleaners studying for a Cleaning and Support Services NVQ level 2 qualification delivered within the workplace by the local further education college. The course required within the awarding body's unit structure the compilation of evidence via portfolio building which included recording observations, oral and/or written questioning, witness statements, candidate statements and importantly for this study activities recorded on worksheets as part of professional discussions within taught classes. The tutor alerted the researcher to the outcomes of diagnostic literacy assessments which recorded low developmental literacy levels within the group ranging from Entry level 1 to Entry level 3 as measured by the national Skills for Life scheme. It was agreed between the tutor and the researcher that the materials collated for the cleaning award portfolio could be also used as evidence to gain a literacy qualification and the cleaners without their knowledge or consent were subsequently registered for a literacy qualification as well as the cleaning one. Their line manager was however informed of the deception and she agreed to collude in the exercise. The deception was justified on the grounds that the cleaners represented a social group categorised by the government as 'hard to reach', a group who had disengaged from formal education at an early age and had accrued minimal qualifications and to be ethically justified in that the NVQ 2 qualification was mandatory for their future employment so why not give them certificated credit for enhancing their literacy skills? To deceive in this manner also removed any potential barriers for the cleaners engaging with formal learning again including the possible stigmatisation of being labelled as adults with significant literacy development needs. All of the 15 cleaners gained the cleaning award and at differing levels a literacy award. At the small award ceremony, the cleaners were informed of the deception though the rationale was not disclosed and the dual accreditation was explained as simply good practice and their achievement something to be very proud of. In a semi-formal feedback session, 12 expressed delight at gaining a literacy qualification 6 of whom intended to continue for higher awards now that they knew 'they could do it', 2 were less sure and one was outraged that we had labelled her as someone in need of literacy help and felt patronised.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Paper presented at the University of Bolton Research and Innovation Conference, 2009.
Uncontrolled Keywords: deception, Literacy, ethics, barriers to learning
Divisions: School of Education and Psychology > Education
Depositing User: Scott Wilson
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2013 12:51
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2018 10:17

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