So today I had a discussion about ethics…

Today in another class we had a guest speaker talk about ethics in relation to our research interests. The guest was from the Behavioral Ethics Research Board and we reviewed changes to TCPS2. It was a very interesting discussion as we began to explore issues related to the Internet and the use of chat rooms. The focus on the discussion was around confidentiality and privacy on public forums. Basically it came down to the following:
  • if the chat room is open to the public and does not require log-in you probably can do the research without seeking a consent
  • if you are required to sign in to the chat room, you are required to obtain ethics approval and will need a consent by the participant.
  • the interesting point (which was new to me) was that in order to receive ethics approval, you must first have the permission from the web host to see if they allow researchers to conduct any type of research on their site.

I would like to further expand on my final project by using this in my PhD program. So I will contact the NING executive and find out if that is a possibility…wish me luck!

This seems to not be that easy of a process as there is no information on the terms of service or in the help section so I will send in a request to the help desk.

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2 thoughts on “So today I had a discussion about ethics…

  1. Wow, I have never heard that before and to me, that sounds quite ridiculous. Do we ask the telephone company if we want to use their lines to conduct interviews?

    Do you have any specific documentation on this? I am quite sure this is not something we have to do with the U of R’s Research Ethics Board.

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