Qualitative Research in Correctional Settings: Researcher Bias, Western Ideological Influences, and Social Justice

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Abstract

Within correctional settings, justice, health, and academic systems overlap for forensic nurse researchers. Within an environment that stresses social control, a researcher's implicit views, perspectives, and biases can lead to altering the authentic (re)presentation of a participant's experience. Researcher bias may be influenced by predominately western ideologies and societal discourses. Qualitative methods to mitigate and raise awareness around researcher biases include bracketing, unstructured interviews, diverse peer review, thinking inductively, investigator responsiveness, and critical reflexivity. In addition to these methods, a social justice perspective should be included within the ethical foundation, guiding theories, and worldview in the research design to mitigate western ideological influences on researcher bias. Finally, a forensic nurse researcher should consider how possible western influences on researcher bias impact their ethical and moral obligation to their participants, the research community, and their clinical practice.

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