Ethical dilemmas associated with small samples


Joan S ford Faculty of Nursing University of Alberta 400 Garneau Professional Centre, 11044 82nd Avenue, Edmonton Alberta Canada T6G 0T2


This paper describes the ethical dilemmas which the authors encountered when conducting qualitative research with samples consisting of a small number of participants Ethical conflicts are explored in terms of the principles of autonomy, non-maleficience, and beneficience with examples from the authors’ research experiences Although there are no definitive resolutions to these conflicts, the paper may increase awareness of the special concerns which require further study and debate