Ethics issues in digital methods research

Hewson, Claire (2015). Ethics issues in digital methods research. In: Snee, Helen; Hine, Christine; Morey, Yvette; Roberts, Steven and Watson, Hayley eds. Digital Methods for Social Science: An Interdisciplinary Guide to Research Innovation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 206–221.



This chapter considers the key ethics issues which emerge in the context of digital methods research, both in reliably applying existing ethics standards, and addressing novel issues which arise within online environments. Obtrusive and unobtrusive methods are considered, and the issues most pertinent to each highlighted. The key issues covered are: the public/private domain distinction online; how (and when) to properly implement informed consent, withdrawal and debrief procedures; participant confidentiality. Some of the difficulties which emerge in online contexts may be non-obvious to researchers accustomed to gathering data via traditional offline methods. The chapter offers illustrative examples to highlight these difficulties, and outlines caveats and principles of good practice. It is of interest to anyone involved in planning, designing or assessing digital methods research.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions