Ethics Working Committee Draft. Do Not Distribute. For Review Only.


Permalink for this paragraph 0 This document provides a basic overview of ethical Internet research considerations.  It advocates an emergent approach to ethics, which considers the specific needs of each case. Therefore, rather than prescribing a set of approved practices, it suggests a characteristic range of questions that Internet researchers and those responsible for oversight of such research should consider. But of course, this document is neither complete nor final.  Over two decades of research practice have provided us with multiple examples of ethical complications and unique solutions. A strong knowledge of previous studies is advocated and we provide as comprehensive a bibliography as possible to aid in that endeavor.  As well, we recognize that as Internet researchers encounter new venues, contexts, inter/actions, etc., additional questions and responses will inevitably arise, either as variations of those mentioned in this document or as distinctively new. Our intent is that this document will remain useful in those new contexts as it at least suggests starting points and possible analogies for raising new questions and developing new responses.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 At the same time, we anticipate that as this document comes into use, it may help researchers further identify its limits as they encounter new contexts and ethical issues that emerge in the ongoing evolution of both the Internet and our multifaceted efforts to research the communicative engagements these technologies make possible.  Hence, we intend this document to serve both as a first way of addressing contemporary ethical challenges and as an occasion for inviting further critical evaluation and ongoing dialogical development of Internet research ethics.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 In sum, we hope this document will prove helpful to researchers, ethicists, and others concerned with the important ethical challenges of Internet research, and the Association of Internet Researchers remains grateful for further critical comment and examples that help to carry our dialogues onward from this point.

page 16