The aim of the paper is to discuss the ethical issues related to financial payments. The article compares the concerns and experiences of researchers who did not pay the participants with the concerns and experiences of researchers who paid the participants. It draws on in-depth interviews with Polish social researchers who conducted qualitative research with vulnerable participants. The paper indicates that researchers who did not pay the participants believed that financial payment reduces the researcher’s relationship with informants to an economic transaction. For this reason, they had more ethical concerns about paying than researchers who did pay. My interviewees suggest that in some cases financial payment may cause discomfort to the researcher or informants, compromise the anonymity of participants, and cause the additional risk of harm. By analysing various concerns related to financial payment, the article may contribute to raising researchers’ awareness of possible risks related to cash payment and, as a consequence, can help them to make their own informed decisions, especially as there are few guidelines in this area.
Cash Payment, Qualitative Social Research, In-depth interviews, Vulnerable Participants, Research Ethics
Funding for this research was provided by a grant from the National Science Centre, Poland (2016/20/S/HS6/00435).
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Recommended APA Citation
Surmiak, A. (2020). Ethical Concerns of Paying Cash to Vulnerable Participants: The Qualitative Researchers’ Views. The Qualitative Report, 25(12), 4461-4481. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2020.4441