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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-537
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bioethical Inquiry
Early online date5 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2014


Concerns have been expressed about adult behaviour at children’s sporting events in New Zealand. As a consequence, covert observation was identified as the optimal research method to be used in studies designed to record the nature and prevalence of adult sideline behaviour at children’s team sporting events. This paper explores whether the concerns raised by the ethics committee about the use of this controversial method, particularly in relation to the lack of informed consent, the use of deception, and researcher safety, were effectively managed. This is achieved by reflecting on the conduct and findings of the research and by drawing on the perspectives of research assistants
who carried out the covert observation. The authors argue that in the context of these studies, the ends have justified the means and with careful attention to the
design of the study the complex ethical tensions arising from the use of this method can be managed.


Simon R. Walters, and Rosemary Godbold, 'Someone Is Watching You: The Ethics of Covert Observation to Explore Adult Behaviour at Children’s Sporting Events', Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, Vol. 11 (4): 531-537, July 2014, doi: Published by Springer Netherlands. © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014.

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