"*Pseudonyms are used throughout": A footnote, unpacked

Janet Heaton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
128 Downloads (Pure)


Pseudonyms are often used to de-identify participants and other people, organizations and places mentioned in interviews and other textual data collected for research purposes. While this is commonplace, the rationale for, and limits of, using pseudonyms or other methods to disguise identifying information are seldom explained in empirical works. Following an illustrated outline of pseudonyms, epithets, codenames and other obscurant techniques used in the social sciences and humanities, this paper considers how they variously frame the identities of, and position the relations between, participants and researchers. It suggests ways in which researchers might improve on current practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Early online date30 Sept 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Sept 2021


  • anonymity
  • confidentiality
  • naming practices
  • pseudonymous data
  • research ethics


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