The Changing Roles of Researchers and Participants in Digital and Social Media Research: Ethics Challenges and Forward Directions

The Ethics of Online Research

ISBN: 978-1-78714-486-6, eISBN: 978-1-78714-485-9

ISSN: 2398-6018

Publication date: 12 December 2017

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to situate how the digitalized research environment is changing the roles of researchers and participants, and how these changes lead to more complex and less discrete ethics challenges. Incorporating contemporary examples from the social sciences, we outline the core challenges of the changing research landscape that embrace both research actors (researcher, participant, and research users) and data issues. The ethical implications related to research actors’ roles are discussed by considering how data is accessed, how people can now participate in research, and issues related to accessing participants. Digital data and associated ethical issues are explored through examining authorship and ownership, how digital data is produced, and how research transparency can be achieved. Following on from this consideration of research actors and data issues, we suggest which challenges have been re-contextualized by the digital environment, and which are novel to the digital research context, outlining six practical yet reflective questions for researchers to ask as a way to navigate ethics in the digital research territory.

Keywords

Citation

Quinton, S. and Reynolds, N. (2017), "The Changing Roles of Researchers and Participants in Digital and Social Media Research: Ethics Challenges and Forward Directions", Woodfield, K. (Ed.) The Ethics of Online Research (Advances in Research Ethics and Integrity, Vol. 2), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 53-78. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2398-601820180000002003

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited

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