“Thanks for Using Me”: An Exploration of Exit Strategy in Qualitative Research

  • Zachary James Morrison Zachary Morrison, MSc, BSc Kin Coordinator Sport and Wellness Medicine Hat College Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
  • David Gregory David Gregory, RN, PhD Professor and Dean Faculty of Nursing University of Regina Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Steven Thibodeau Steven Thibodeau, PhD, RMFT, CSAT, MSW No current University Affiliation Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Abstract

This article examines, through a synthesis of the literature and excerpts from a qualitative case study, the concept of exit strategy, specifically its relation to vulnerable populations (e.g., overweight adolescent boys) and potential impact on the researcher-participant relationship. The quality and duration of the researcher-participant relationship, along with rapport and trust building, are potential indicators for negotiated closure (i.e., exit strategy). Reframing this relationship as “participant-researcher” resituates vulnerable participants as foremost in such relationships. Given what is potentially at stake for participants in qualitative research, there is a moral and ethical imperative to enter into the dialogue of closure. Otherwise, participants may unwittingly serve as a means to an end, that is, as objects in the enterprise of qualitative research. Researchers, research supervisors, and human subject ethics committees are urged to establish protocols to guide how research relationships are ended within the context of qualitative methods, particularly with respect to vulnerable populations.

Author Biographies

Zachary James Morrison, Zachary Morrison, MSc, BSc Kin Coordinator Sport and Wellness Medicine Hat College Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Zachary Morrison, MSc, BSc Kin Coordinator Sport and Wellness Medicine Hat College Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada Zachary Morrison, MSc, is a Coordinator in the Sport and Wellness Department at the Medicine Hat College. He has worked in the area of health promotion and exercise science for the past ten years. Currently, he collaborates as a lead community partner with local organizations to promote healthy living strategies, foster community development, and initiate health promotion programs and services.
David Gregory, David Gregory, RN, PhD Professor and Dean Faculty of Nursing University of Regina Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
David Gregory, RN, PhD Professor and Dean Faculty of Nursing University of Regina Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada David Gregory, RN, PhD is Professor and Founding Dean, Faculty of Nursing, University of Regina. As a qualitative researcher, he has worked with vulnerable populations such as persons living with cancer, patients receiving palliative care, and aboriginal people.
Steven Thibodeau, Steven Thibodeau, PhD, RMFT, CSAT, MSW No current University Affiliation Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Steven Thibodeau is engaged in private clinical practice in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
Published
2012-07-16
Section
Articles