Presentation on theme: "Matthew Williams & Bruce Mason Cardiff University"— Presentation transcript:
1 Online Ethnographic Research and Dissemination: Method, Ethics and Practice Matthew Williams & Bruce MasonCardiff UniversityPresented at Research Methods Programme Online resources workshop 16/12/2004
2 The ScopeAssessing the methods, pratice and ethical considerations of online ethnographic research.Assessing how to build ethical practice into all phases of an ethnographic project for online dissemination.
3 Online Participant Observation Online Focus Groups virtual ethnography: the ethical challenges of researching online environmentsOnline Participant ObservationOnline Focus Groups
4 informed consent & anonymity Turbulent & shifting online populationsPublic vs. private online discourseOnline disinhibitiononline public discourse may be considered privateAsynchronous communicationpossibility of virtual informed consentDifficulty achieving online anonymity
5 established ethical guidelines ISP acceptable use policiesCPSR, EFF, AoIROnline community codes of conductImplications of certain lawsData Protection Act 1998
6 reciprocity in online research Ease of transmitting online informationParticipant can review and reflect on digital dataFurther ethical dilemmas of representing data online
7 Insights from “Ethnography in the Digital Age” Multimedia fieldwork in the real world.Hypermedia presentation online.And an aggrevating factor…
9 Ethics and consent in the field Looking to achieve active, informed consentOpt in vs. opt out consentActive consent allows subjects to withdraw consent laterConsent for reuse and repurposing
10 Simple consent form used during visitor interviews. Used with subjects who will have personal contact with researchers.Requires an informational leaflet.No explicit space for restrictions.
11 Consent form to be used alongside an informational flyer with restrictions added. Used during Photo essay and vox pop project.
12 Detailed Consent form used during photography at research site used during a “photo essay” task. Minimal contact with researchers except during the consent process.Explicit, active consent with restriction boxes.
13 Warning poster Used alongside an informational flyer. To warn people that they may be recorded as part of a research project.Used when there is no intent to identify potential subjects caught on camera.
17 Online DisseminationThe Ethnographic Hypermedia Environment (EHE) online.Not just online datasetNot just online scholarshipData Protection act looms large. Do you know who your Data Protection Officer is?Procedures for handling indvidual media types are often relatively well known but combining media (multi/hypermedia) facilitates unexpected identification.GOOGLE!It can identify peopleIt can misidentify people
18 Do you know who’s looking? Internation online (Web/Grid) dissemination.E.g. Data Protection act forbids sharing data held under the act outside of EU. (e.g. USA).Password protection (personal or via a facility such as Athens)Use copyright to prevent re-use and re-purposing?Surely the whole point is to enable reuse.
19 Oh Brave New World Industrialisation of teaching Don’t Panic? If teaching is becoming an industry what impact will this have on the research process?As an example, full economic costing is being applied to research funding. What impact might that have on our relationship with research participants?Don’t Panic?Are we over-concerned about the ethical issues?