Internet research is a type of secondary research data collection method. But the internet as a field, and as a tool has far-reaching ethical issues. Internet research is a sub-discipline, and fits in many other domains as well. These disciplines can relate to social and natural sciences, arts and humanities, or medical/biomedical areas. Internet research ethical issues are mostly related to computer, and informational ethical issues. In this guide, I will discuss such ethical issues in detail. So could you not go anywhere and give it a read? Because reading this will help in making your next task effective.
Ethical Problems In Internet Research:
Before discussing ethical issues, let’s define internet research ethics (IRE) first. According to experts of dissertation writing services, IRE is an analysis, and application of research ethics for research conducted on the internet. Internet-based research is the research that utilises the internet for collection of data. Now let’s go into further details of such ethical issues that occur in internet issues. The details for these are as follows;
The first ethical issue which I think is most important is that of privacy. The researchers must ensure the privacy, as well as confidentiality of the data collected. Same goes for privacy of the subjects who are involved in the internet research process. Any violation of privacy presents serious risks to the participants. These serious risks can include the exposure of personal, and sensitive information. It can also be the release of data that is protected under law. There’s no doubt that the internet research is full of scammers and frauds. This is the reason why privacy, and confidentiality of subjects as well as data come at the top.
The next issue that researchers can face is recruiting the right people for the job at hand. The recruitment of people takes place by employing several ways. It can happen through any form of research. The population, or participants are selected for specific purposes as well. A typical example of this can be a graphic study on online game players. Online game players can give more authentic, and realistic data than other people. These include people who don’t even know the meaning of graphics. The techniques which an individual can employ in recruitment can be that of Amazon’s MTurk Crowdsourcing Platform. Hence, the recruitment of right people for the research is also very important.
Informed consent is the most critical ethical issue in internet research. It means that your participants have adequate knowledge of both benefits, as well as risks of the study. Another thing is that they’re participating in the research willingly. In informed consent, the researcher typically explains the purpose, and objectives of research. It also includes an explanation of the methods, as well as possible outcomes of the research. The researcher also has to inform participants about the associated risks and harms. Gaining consent can be done through any medium, i.e. verbally, or in writing. It doesn’t matter which method you apply. The important thing here is gaining the consent of participants.
Conflicts of Interest
Conflicts of interest are another major ethical issue in internet research. It happens when researchers have interests that are not fully apparent. These conflicts may influence their judgement on what to publish as well. The typical conflicts here are that of personal, political, academic, or financial interests. Financial interests may include employment, or research funding etc.
Researchers should discuss such interests at the early stages of research. These conflicts of interest should not affect methodology, and outcome of the research. In case of any doubt, it will be useful to discuss it with the ethics committee. The author should declare these interests when publishing the research. It is because readers can judge whether the research findings are trustworthy or not.
Ethical issues can also occur after the completion of research. In internet research, there are three main issues that you can face during the communication of results. These are as follows;
- Plagiarism: Plagiarism is academic theft, and is a severe ethical issue as well. It can lead you to jail if you don’t give proper credits to the content’s owner.
- Academic Fraud: This is a lower level of plagiarism that can lower the engagement of science students. You can possibly copy and paste someone else’s work due to temptation. It isn’t a good practice.
- Misrepresenting the Results: This relates to the misrepresentation of results. It happens in most internet research. To avoid this, your results should be properly presented in the context of your research.
Ethical issues present unique challenges to the researchers. Researchers should address these issues first before carrying out the desired study. The ethical issues mentioned above are not the only ones. You can look for other ethical issues in internet research searching on a browser as well.