Ethics: Internet Research

Ethics: Internet Research

August 22, 2019 0 By Kailee Schamberger


As you are no doubt aware there are a
variety of types of research like telephone surveys, mail surveys, intercept surveys, focus groups, and web based surveys to name a few. Each type of research brings its own
ethical issues but we’ll focus in this video on the ethical considerations of
collecting data via the Internet. The association of internet researchers
the AOIR has several guidelines for researchers to follow when they decide
to collect data and research via the internet, and you can find them on the
website. In 2002 the guidelines were more directed and not quite as philosophical as the 2012 guidelines we’ll look at in a moment. In 2002 the ethical considerations including this one, “the greater the acknowledged publicity of the venue, the less obligation there may be to protect individual privacy confidentiality and rights to informed consent”. The assumption was that if it was obvious that the website media platform etc, is out in the public eye than
those responding to a survey or posting to that site were likely aware that it
was possible their information will become public and by posting to that site they wait some of their privacy rights. Additionally many sites have TOS’s or
Terms of Service you know the ones you didn’t click agree
to without actually reading the long document in legalese, those essentially
provide notification that by using this site you agree to allow your information
to be used for research and marketing purposes. But notice this one, which was originally burred as the 8th bullet on the list of 12, it was clarified and moved to be the first on a much shorter more philosophical and arguably more wordy list of was 6 guidelines. It reads “The greater the vulnerability of the community/ author/ participant the greater the obligation of the researcher to protect the community/ author/ participant”. This means that while all persons have rights and as researchers we are obligated to protect those rights, those obligations are greater if the research participants are children and/or minors between the age of 12 and 18 or other groups that may be consider vulnerable. Processing time What group is specifically identified by the Association of internet researchers as being vulnerable to the point where researchers have a greater obligation to protect them? and How does the concept of do no harm apply to research conducted via the internet? and as you now know there are benefits and drawbacks that all of
the research data collection method but internet research has some unique
challenges.