Web Survey Bibliography
Title Ethical Dilemmas in Cyberspace: Obtaining Consent for Online Qualitative Research in the Absence of an Established Operational Framework
Author Bennett, C.
Access date 12.05.2004
Abstract In recent years the Internet has rapidly become an integral form of communication with a forecasted 500 million ‘users’ predicted to be online (globally) by the year 2003. This pervasiveness has led to an escalating and diverse means of communication, where people can transcend geographical barriers and interact with one another in many different ways, on a range of subjects, some inconsequential, some contentious and others intensely personal. The vast amount of social and behavioral data that is readily available on the Internet has made it a rich data source for researchers wishing to study the dynamics of human interaction and their consequences in this virtual medium, particularly within institutional contexts where a major part of the process involves obtaining ethical clearance. As yet, no ground rules, boundaries or frameworks have been put in place to assist and direct the researcher in the initial stages of their studies, the most important aspect of which is the ethics approval itself, which can alter the direction of the entire study, or indeed dictate whether the study goes ahead at all. Problematic issues include the ability of both researcher and ‘researched’ to assume anonymous or false identities online, the complexities and legalities of obtaining emailed informed consent and the issue of privacy and security in cyberspace, which must be addressed in order to protect the confidentiality of any interaction that takes place. Many researchers seek guidance in this regard but have few resources to direct the mother than actively seeking out the advice of others who have received approval before them. Unfortunately this does not mean that theirs will in turn be approved. To protect participants and promote reliable, practicable and rigorous research methods, it is important to consider the ethical, legal, and technical issues associated with this nascent area of research in order that firm guidelines be put in place just as they are for ‘conventional’ research methods. To do this we must first come together and establish the right questions to ask, as a first step towards developing appropriate ground rules.
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations
Year of publication2000
Web Survey Bibliography - AoIR 1.0 Kansas 2000: The State of the Interdiscipline (5)
- Increasing the validity and representativeness of on-line surveys by the "closed pool"-method: Evidence...; 2000; Voracek, M.
- Online Survey Research Methods and Data Collection; 2000; Burns, R.
- Increasing the validity and representativeness of on-line surveys by the; 2000; Voracek, M.
- Ethical Dilemmas in Cyberspace: Obtaining Consent for Online Qualitative Research in the Absence of...; 2000; Bennett, C.
- Ethical issues in the documentary data analysis of Internet posts and archives; 2000; Murray, C.