Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Participant Anonymity in the Internet Age: From Theory to Practice.

Saunders, B; Kitzinger, J; Kitzinger, C


J Kitzinger

C Kitzinger


Qualitative researchers attempting to protect the identities of their research participants now face a multitude of new challenges due to the wealth of information once considered private but now readily accessible online. We will draw on our research with family members of people with severe brain injury to discuss these challenges in relation to three areas: participant engagement with the mass media, the availability of court transcripts online, and participants' use of social media. We suggest strategies for managing these challenges via disguise, refining informed consent, and discussion with interviewees. In the context of a largely theoretical literature on anonymization, this article offers concrete examples of the dilemmas we faced and will be of illustrative use to other researchers confronting similar challenges.


Saunders, B., Kitzinger, J., & Kitzinger, C. (2015). Participant Anonymity in the Internet Age: From Theory to Practice. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 12(2), 125 - 137.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 7, 2014
Publication Date Jan 21, 2015
Journal Qualitative Research in Psychology
Print ISSN 1478-0887
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 2
Pages 125 - 137
Keywords anonymity; coma; internet/online; research ethics; serious brain injury
Publisher URL