Research ethics and journalism in the academy: identifying and resolving a conflict of culture

Carolyn Beasley, Lyndon Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The difficulty faced by research ethics committees in evaluating ethical conduct in journalism can be considered a recent conundrum. Journalistic investigation has traditionally been seen as residing outside the need for ethics clearances owing to debates around its status as research and to the reluctance of journalism practitioners to subject their investigations to committee evaluation. The inclusion of creative industries in revamped definitions of research, however, means that if journalistic inquiry is to be tallied under national research reward schemes, it must be ethically accountable. This article interrogates the difficulties caused by a conflict of cultures between ethics committees and journalism research and poses a number of possible resolutions. It aims to function as an exploration of key thinking in the field, thus acting as a frame for further development of case-specific examples of the issues raised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-140
Number of pages12
JournalResearch Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Journalism
  • Journalistic research
  • Research ethics

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