Vulnerability and Resilience in Sensitive Research: The Case of the Quantitative Researcher

Irit Bluvstein*, Kfir Ifrah, Rinat Lifshitz, Noam Markovitz, Dov Shmotkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The emotional experiences of quantitative researchers, particularly while conducting sensitive research, are largely neglected. This article aims to advance the awareness of possible emotional strains for quantitative researchers engaged in sensitive research. It qualitatively assesses the ethical and emotional experiences of quantitative researchers conducting a study on aging of bereaved parents and people with a physical disability. Based on the detailed minutes of 66 weekly research meetings held during 2015–2017, a thematic analysis of the researchers’ experiences was performed. Our analysis identified two main themes: vulnerability and resilience. We delineate these themes, along with their subthemes and affinity to vicarious traumatization, moral stress, and vicarious posttraumatic growth. The current study is among the first to introduce the emotional and ethical experiences of the quantitative researcher. Tentative recommendations for the advancement of the researcher’s safety and well-being by training, institutional support, self-care skills, and policy development are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-402
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • research ethics
  • researcher
  • resilience
  • sensitive research
  • vulnerability


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