Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Criminal Justice

First Committee Member

Emily Troshynski

Second Committee Member

Gillian Pinchevsky

Third Committee Member

Melissa Rorie

Fourth Committee Member

Vanessa Fenley

Number of Pages



Research institutions have the responsibility to comply with laws that govern the oversight of all research including research with human subjects. Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) review research protocols and approve research based on the rights and safety of research subjects. When conducting qualitative criminological research, researchers must weigh ethical considerations around their methods. These methodological considerations are coupled with guiding ethical principles that are fundamental to human subject research. One major consideration regards breaking confidentiality which can bring about great risk to participants. The following thesis focuses on the ethics of researcher-participant privilege and issues that qualitative researchers have in maintaining confidentiality due to institutional pressures, particularly those set up via Institutional Review Boards (IRB). Interviews were conducted with six (6) qualitative researchers in the field of criminology to better understand their experiences with disclosure, how they understand ethics around confidentiality, and what rationales they have for resisting requirements to disclose. Findings suggest that these researchers view IRB as upholding racist, sexist, and classist paradigms while doing nothing to actually protect participants from marginalized communities. The thesis concludes that researchers respond through acts of resistance that, due to the nature of their subversion, undermines the idea that IRB can protect participants at all.


Confidentiality; Ethics; IRB; Privilege; Qualitative Methods; Resistance


Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Epistemology | Ethics and Political Philosophy | Ethics in Religion

File Format


File Size

585 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit