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

Kathleen Ellem, Jill Wilson, Wing Hong Chui, Marie Knox

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-509
Number of pages13
JournalDisability and Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethical challenges
  • Intellectual disability
  • Learning disability
  • Life story research
  • Prison

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • General Health Professions
  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethical challenges of life story research with ex-prisoners with intellectual disability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this