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Title: Law for Ethnographers
Authors: Elliott, Tracey
Fleetwood, Jennifer
First Published: 1-Jan-2017
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Citation: Methodological Innovations, 2017, 10 (1)
Abstract: Despite a long history of ethnographic research on crime, ethnographers have shied away from examining the law as it relates to being present at, witnessing and recording illegal activity. However, knowledge of the law is an essential tool for researchers and the future of ethnographic research on crime. This article reviews the main relevant legal statutes in England and Wales and considers their relevance for contemporary ethnographic research. We report that researchers have no legal responsibility to report criminal activity (with some exceptions). The circumstances under which legal action could be taken to seize research data are specific and limited, and respondent’s privacy is subject to considerable legal protection. Our review gives considerable reason to be optimistic about the future of ethnographic research.
DOI Link: 10.1177/2059799117720607
ISSN: 2059-7991
eISSN: 2059-7991
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2017. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium non-commercially, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Law

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