Brownlow, Charlotte and O'Dell, Lindsay
Ethical Issues for Qualitative Research in Online Communities.
Disability and Society, 17(6),
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Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in Internet technologies, which offer new possibilities for researching hard to reach groups. However, research guidelines, which could aid research in this new forum, have not yet been fully developed. The focus of the article will be ethical issues that may arise from using the Internet as a research tool if we are to protect and respect our participants. Questions surrounding gaining informed consent, privacy of participants and new power differentials, which may arise through interaction in an on-line forum, are raised. These are supplemented by reflections from work conducted by the authors using on-line discussion formus as method of research with people with autism.
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