I fully agree with you that ethical considerations have to be foundational and inform our research. Ethics has such a pervasive influence in any research programme, and I have a couple of questions relating to your design with regard to ethics. The same questions also apply to my own research design, so I’m also interested in your response for my own purposes.
When applying for ethics approval, the research design needs to be presented to the ethics committee. The research design will describe the steps in data collection, data management and data analysis. However, depending on the type of textual analysis that will be done, it may be impossible to state how the data will be used before the actual analysis. How will you deal with this?
Pring (2001, p. 408) describes an imaginary ‘democratic researcher’ who considered the possible responses of the participants to the extent that future analyses would be controlled in order to protect the participants. In the end, Pring recalls, no report could be written. Yet, the serious point to be made here is that postmodernism has drawn our attention onto the fickleness of the concept of truth (Moses & Knutsen, 2012). Truth itself is situated and has relevance only to in positioning of the those observing it (Eriksson & Kovalainen, 2008). The effect of postmodernism (even if our analyses do not ultimately use postmodernist methodologies) is that textual analysis may lead to so many disparate possible outcomes that cannot be predicted at the point of application to an institutional ethics review board.
Eriksson, P., & Kovalainen, A. (2008). Research Philosophy. In Qualitative Methods in Business Research (pp. 11–25). London: Sage Publications. http://doi.org/10.4135/9780857028044
Moses, J. W., & Knutsen, T. L. (2012). Ways of knowing: Competing methodologies in social and political research (2nd ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Pring, R. (2001). The Virtues and Vices of an Educational Researcher. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 35(3), 407. http://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9752.00235