Ethical Issues in Online Research
journal contributionposted on 01.05.2015, 11:18 by Nalita James, Hugh Busher
In the last 20 years, researchers have developed their technological skills to construct a variety of online methods and sites to explore experiences and behaviour in the virtual world. Similarly, the emergence of the internet and the development of digital technologies has enabled the creation of sites of social interactions for individuals and communities where practices, meanings, and identities are constructed (James & Busher, 2009) crossing physical distances and time zones, and overcoming social and language barriers. These online environments can be viewed as cultural contexts in their own right (Hine, 2000) through the many social networking sites (SNSs) that now exist, such as Facebook, and also through media such as email, Twitter, Bulletin boards, wikis, websites, and Blogs (the Blogosphere) on any number of topics. More recently, there has been a trend of moving away from the real/virtual dualism put forth by early internet-based research in rec- ognition of the real and virtual as a connected and integral part of our contemporary social world with hybrid/online/offline communities and boundaries albeit crossed by inequalities and power relation asymmetries.