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Researching elites at the margins of research ethics frameworks

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 2 2019
Trefwoorden code of ethics, corporate crime, research ethics, gaining access, interviewing elites
Auteurs Daniel Beizsley PhD
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    For social scientists undertaking critical research on elites in organisational contexts securing access is a challenging exercise that may rely on the use of several access strategies over extended periods. This process is further complicated by the existence of research ethics frameworks that establish boundaries to access strategies, posing dilemmas on how to best balance access needs with a commitment to ethical practices. This article focuses on such dilemmas – or the ‘ethics of access’ – through a reflection on PhD fieldwork during 2016-2017 in Luxembourg spent researching the European Investment Bank. The paper will conclude by calling for an overhaul of existing frameworks in order to foster more research on elites.


Daniel Beizsley PhD
Daniel Beizsley is a PhD candidate on the European Commission funded Doctorate in Cultural and Global Criminology (DCGC) programme supervised by Utrecht University and ELTE University.

    This article shows that the debate about the possibility and desirability of a rigid distinction between discovery and justification is being muddled because of differences and ambiguities in the way that different writers use the terms ‘discovery,’ ‘justification,’ and related terms. The article argues that merely distinguishing between ‘discovery’ and ‘justification’ is not precise enough, and that we should make a distinction between different elements within each of these contexts. I propose a six-fold classification, through which we can identify reasons, acts, and processes that play a role both in the context of discovery and in the context of justification. This six-fold classification enables us to move forward from debating whether discovery and justification can be rigidly separated, towards articulating how each element (reasons, acts, and processes) has a role to play in each of the contexts (discovery and justification), and how these elements and contexts are related.


Luiz Silveira
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