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Göteborgs universitets publikationer

Studying closed communities online: Digital methods and ethical considerations beyond informed consent and pseudonymity

Författare och institution:
Ylva Hård af Segerstad (Institutionen för tillämpad informationsteknologi (GU)); Dick Kasperowski (Institutionen för filosofi, lingvistik och vetenskapsteori)
Publicerad i:
Internet Research 17.0: Internet Rules!, The Seventeenth International Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers,
Konferensbidrag - refereegranskat abstract
Sammanfattning (abstract):
In this study, we use a particular case study focusing on a closed group for bereaved parents on Facebook for discussing practical ethical challenges associated with studying communities on social media. These challenges often stand in contradiction to the rich empirical material that is possible to obtain with digital methods.  The particular concerns of this study offers opportunities to address issues that have general implications for digital methods and ethical considerations of studying social media. The study illustrates the danger of simplifying general ethical concerns without grounding them in the practicalities and possibilities of digital environments that give off more data than asked for by the research questions at hand. When digital methods meet digital environments, empirical data can be created that goes beyond the intention and scope of the researchers. The richness in data has an appeal to researchers that wish to work inductively using for example data-mining techniques to explore unexpected connections and patterns beyond conventional hypothesis-driven research with strictly defined research questions. This way, the data acquires a form of “ethical agency”, as it has to be managed and secured beyond what was initially expected. This requires both special technical and ethical considerations. The general assumption is that ethical and methodological challenges arise when new technological possibilities for doing research clash with established codes of research conduct, as well as with concern for the participating human subjects. For several reasons, this particular case study can be considered a worst-case scenario. However, it also offers opportunities to discuss and address current issues of ethical concerns regarding empirical, theoretical and methodological aspects of exploring social media.
Ämne (baseras på Högskoleverkets indelning av forskningsämnen):
Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap ->
Mänsklig interaktion med IKT
Filosofi, etik och religion ->
Annan humaniora
Ytterligare information:
In the Internet research ethics roundtable II: Crossing Boundaries, Mapping New Distinctions”. Internet Research 17.0: Internet Rules!, The Seventeenth International Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers, Berlin, Germany, 5-8 October, 2016.
Postens nummer:
Posten skapad:
2016-06-22 11:32

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