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Ethical challenges in online research: public/private perceptions

Ethical challenges in online research: public/private perceptions
Ethical challenges in online research: public/private perceptions
With its wealth of readily and often publicly available information about web users lives, the Web has created new opportunities for conducting online research. Although digital data is easily accessible, ethical guidelines are inconsistent about how researchers should use them. Some academics claim that traditional ethical principles are sufficient and applicable to online research. However, the Web poses new challenges that compel researchers to reconsider concerns of consent, privacy and anonymity. Based on doctoral research into the investigation of online medicine purchasing, this paper presents a case study involving online forums and reviews the existing ethical guidance surrounding the Web. The suggestion is that new ethical guidelines, particularly in relation to informed consent and participant’s own perceptions of what is public or private, are needed due to the unique challenges of online research.
world wide web, internet, ethics, research, forums
1747-0161
1-16
Sugiura, Lisa
b803eb8d-d965-4da1-893b-3f5fcd98073f
Pope, Catherine
21ae1290-0838-4245-adcf-6f901a0d4607
Wiles, Rosemary
5bdc597b-716c-4f60-9f45-631ecca25571
Sugiura, Lisa
b803eb8d-d965-4da1-893b-3f5fcd98073f
Pope, Catherine
21ae1290-0838-4245-adcf-6f901a0d4607
Wiles, Rosemary
5bdc597b-716c-4f60-9f45-631ecca25571

Sugiura, Lisa, Pope, Catherine and Wiles, Rosemary (2016) Ethical challenges in online research: public/private perceptions. Research Ethics Review, 13 (3-4), 1-16. (doi:10.1177/1747016116650720).

Record type: Article

Abstract

With its wealth of readily and often publicly available information about web users lives, the Web has created new opportunities for conducting online research. Although digital data is easily accessible, ethical guidelines are inconsistent about how researchers should use them. Some academics claim that traditional ethical principles are sufficient and applicable to online research. However, the Web poses new challenges that compel researchers to reconsider concerns of consent, privacy and anonymity. Based on doctoral research into the investigation of online medicine purchasing, this paper presents a case study involving online forums and reviews the existing ethical guidance surrounding the Web. The suggestion is that new ethical guidelines, particularly in relation to informed consent and participant’s own perceptions of what is public or private, are needed due to the unique challenges of online research.

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Ethical Challenges in online research - public and private perceptions FINAL .docx - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 26 April 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 6 July 2016
Keywords: world wide web, internet, ethics, research, forums
Organisations: Faculty of Health Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 393810
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/393810
ISSN: 1747-0161
PURE UUID: fbeabf67-c9e4-42ac-97ad-5a7b1a4820d3
ORCID for Catherine Pope: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8935-6702

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 May 2016 10:19
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 06:50

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