Ethical dilemmas are part and parcel of a PhD. I get it! But sometimes when I sit down and think about my PhD topic, I feel like mine really is fraught with a number of really complicated ethical dilemmas that are built into the fabric of the subject matter.
So this week I have been trying think and read about methods and methodologies, and as per usual when I start a new mini lit review I am confused.
Currently I am working with two research questions:
1. Why do LGBT+ young people have heightened rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviours when compared to their cisgender, heterosexual peers?
2. Does social connectedness, isolation, and broadly a sense of community influence those suicidal thoughts and behaviours, and if so how?
And a kind of whispered third question which goes something like this:
3. What kind of prevention and/or intervention work might help?
Sometimes, when I am writing about my topic, I want to be polemic.
I spend most of my days reading about LGBT+ youth suicide. Some days it’s about the prevalence of it, some days it about risk and protective factors, some days it’s about the theories that try to explain it. I am really lucky because I love my project and I really believe that it has the potential to contribute new understanding to a topic super close to my own heart, and so I am really, really committed to it. But, sometimes, I just want to write in capital letters across the page:
This research is important because it is not good enough that LGBT+ young people face disproportionately high rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviours when compared to cishet youths – I am concerned, I want this to improve, and you should too!
But I don’t because that would be unprofessional, and as someone told me the other day ‘you always write for your external examiner’, and I don’t think Prof External Examiner would be very impressed. That is why I have this blog! Continue reading