The Challenges of Confidentiality and Anonymity in Undertaking Scientific Research

Norman Adamson Sigalla King, Newton Kyando, Lucy Massoi


The importance of confidentiality cannot be understated in conducting research, particularly when using interviews and questionnaires as main instruments of data collection. Trainers and lecturers, the world over, advocate on the importance of preserving secrecy of the respondents. This article reviews the essence of confidentiality, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of confidentiality. The study is explorative in nature, and utilises experiential as the main source of data gathering. We conclude that while confidentiality has been seen as important in researches, there are possibilities that confidentiality may hamper the true position of the research, and in addition, it creates possibility for research cheating since respondents cannot, in essence, be verified. We therefore appeal for the contemporary world scientist to look on revealing the names of respondents for ascertaining reliability and validity of the information gathered. In addition, with modern tools of data analysis and interpretation, there are possibilities of manipulating information of previous studies without doing a fieldwork, because one may be protected by the poor use of some research ethics such as confidentiality. We appeal to research supervisors to do their work imitating what referees in games such as football would do when ensuring that every thing is observed in conformity to rules of the ground. Otherwise, we are likely to see research dissertations/thesis accepted and even published, as if goals accepted even when the entire audience notes that it was a clear hand used to insert the ball to the net.

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