In this session, we consider researching online learning and teaching using both: off line method, and online methods We ask the question: should online research require additional considerations / treatment? Should ‘online research require separate or additional treatment?’ [welfare of animals – outside the scope of this session] We discuss how some research methods / methodological approaches give rise to specific ethical issues (e.g., virtual ethnography; participant, non-participant observations; and discourse analysis)
1. Use of online tools to ask participants for responses to particular questions or issues. 2. Analysing online interaction within virtual environments 3. Techniques rely on indirect observation, with the data being de-contextualised from its sources and the analysis often combined with powerful visualisation tools. This is an emerging field. Eg., learning analytics conference. People like George Siemens. Examples: (Rita Kop, IRRODL, Frances Bell,
What do online research methods offer to social scientists (Fielding et al, 2008, p. 5): offer ‘technological means to previously intractable problems of social science methods’ provide ‘a picture of overall contours of contemporary human knowledge (although very large, very unruly, and changing)’ Might this be the case for educational researchers too?
The overall objective is….
Here we consider who is interested in your ethical frameworks and who might be affected by how you follow ethical standards.
Informed consent: about providing full information to the participant including why and how they have been chosen. Getting consent freely. How do you get consent if children are involved. Informed consent as not a straight forward issue in qualitative research (Steane 2004: 64). How about in online research? Confidentiality and anonymity: How are you going to safe guard information and the identity of people, institutions, places mentioned. Not only personal confidentiality but also commercial confidentiality (Le Voi, 2002, 155) with commercial sponsorship. Same applies to professional organisations. Ownership of data and conclusion: Who owns the data and the conclusions. How will the research results be reported and disseminated? Use and misuse of results: As stressed by Miles and Hubermann (1994, 290-7, in Punch, 2008, p. 56): what obligations do I have to help my findings be used appropriately. Honesty and trust: What is my relationship with the people I am studying? What if you help / attempt to make any interventions as a result of your findings? Reciprocity: What do participants gain from my research Intervention and advocacy: What do I do if I see harmful, illegal, wrongful behaviour during my research? [slow feedback from tutors! Illegal downloading of music files!] Harm and risk: Will the research do anything to harm / hurt people involved? Health and safety issues? In all cases, the principle of non-malficence (no harm) takes place. Conflict of interest: Steane (2004: 66): questions of power and reliance, along with benefit and trust, are involved in some research situations, and need to be handled with care.
Debates about ethical issues of researching is on-going. We are not going to be able to resolve them in our lifetime. We need to take precautionary actions, according to the context in which we work. Internet provides many opportunities for social researchers (see for example Fielding et al, 2008). At the same time, it brings up new ethical dilemmas, which we will consider in this session and follow up discussions. ‘ ethics and research methods are closely interrelated’ (Eynon et al., 2008: p. 23). … ‘consideration of ethical issues in a context-independent manner, divorced from matters of research design, methods, and conceptual frameworks, would be limited in scope and usefulness.’ (ibid, p. 23 – 24). For example, researching thru social and participatory media raise new ethical issues. More particularly in terms of internet-based research, ‘challenges to developing a coherent approach to ethical dilemmas in Internet research is as the Internet evolves as a space for social interaction and information dissemination, the methods necessary to capture and document such activities are also emergent and novel.’ (p. 23). ‘ considerable debate about the ethics of Internet research – not least because the Internet is still in a formative phase and new phenomena continue to emerge.’ (p. 23). ‘… you should be aware of the possible opprobrium that will be coming your way if you make certain kinds of choices’ (Bryman, 2008, p. 115).
[note to the presenter]. A quick round of responses from participants for each of the three.
Question: So, what are the online versions of traditional methods? ….[online questionnaires, online interviews, online observations, online documents] Words much stronger when written down, permanent records, [stuff on episodic interviews [reference] Technology can influence bias the response? Self-selected sample?
[note to the presenter] Show this slide as some guide / prompts for the participants to start their group activity.
What do we mean by informed consent in this research context? Can you honestly handle this given the methodological choices you have made? (e.g., covert observations on line?) Your research training as an ethnographer? Blogger? When can we violate the informed consent principle? Can we violate it at all? What forms of wording need to go in the informed consent form? [provide an example]
Internet mediatedresearch edirisingha_draft
Using the Internet forEducational Research Dr Palitha Edirisingha Beyond Distance Research Alliance School of Education University of Leicester 1 Palitha Edirisingha, 09 Nov 2012, School of Education
A word of caution!• ‘… . The newness of a method can lead to unthinking application and a distancing of users from the craft aspects of a particular methodological approach. Hine (2005) notes that areas that are new, as the Internet was in the 1990s, tend to attract hype and undiscriminating enthusiasm. One implication here might be that new methods are used, not because they are appropriate to particular situations, but because they are easy, novel and fashionable. … . It is important methodologically to assess what we gain and what we lose with any new way of doing things’ (Fielding et al., 2008, p. 6). 2
Session objectives1. To raise awareness of the use of Internet for data collection for educational research2. To be familiar with internet-based tools used for collecting data for educational research3. To consider links between internet-based data collection methods specific ethical issues4. To consider how ethical issues relating to Internet research might differ from research in traditional settings.5. To critique and learn lessons from three examples of using Internet for collecting data in educational research. 3
Session plan [9.30am – 11.00am]Duration Topic Details Activity[Start Introductions Our research projects; where we are with data collection and analysis; Group discussion9.30am] methods aware of and familiar with; any plans for using Internet for10 mins data collection10 mins Internet and The relationship between internet and educational research; definition Presentation education research of terms; different Internet-mediated data collection methods and rationale for using them10 mins Tools and examples Examples from Pelicans, Dissertation research, Pelicans International Presentation10 mins Ethical implications Considering the ethical implications of using internet-based methods for Presentation educational research.10 mins A SHORT BREAK Introduce the chapter from Salmons (2012). Introduce the framework for the critique.10 mins Examples - interviews Critiquing an examples of using the internet for collecting qualitative Reading and data, based on Salmons (2012) discussion in two groups10 mins - Contd - Contd. Presenting the critique and lessons that can be learned from Group presentations each case. 5 mins per group.10 mins An example - An example of using an online questionnaire for by an APG student for a A question and questionnaire pilot study. answer session with an APG student10 mins Conclusions Plans for further work[End11.00am] 4
1. Introductions and a review of main data collection methods [10 mins]• Our PhD research projects?• Where are we with data collection and analysis?• What methods are we aware of and familiar with? What are the ethical implications associated with those methods?• Any plans for using the Internet for data collection? 5
2. Internet and education research [10 mins]• Definition of terms• The relationship between internet and educational research• Internet-mediated data collection methods• Rationale for using them• Issues, ethics 6
Internet-mediated researchGathering of novel, original data to be subjected toanalysis in order to provide new evidence in relationto a particular research question (Hewson et al.2003).‘Established recommendations and guidelines forgood research design practice in traditional offlineresearch will be assumed here’ (Hewson andLaurent, 2008, p. 59). 7
Internet in the context of online researchIn social science research Examples from educational research?A major data resourceA lens through which to observe the subjects of research (andhow they construct their identities and communities online)A tool for gathering and analysing social science data on a MOOCslarge scaleA laboratory for the social sciences [a bit like astronomers i-Spot, Galaxy Zoousing an observatory to study the sky]Mechanism for communicating and collaborating with adistributed community of peer researchers (e.g., FacebookTwitter). 8 (Eynon et al., 2008)
Three main approaches to gathering internet-based dataApproach Data collection methods used Examples1. Online methods to gather surveys, interviews, focus groups, Pelicans, MOOSEdata directly from individuals documents (artefacts)2. Analysing online Participant observation, logging and Media and Comminteraction within virtual visualising interactions among dissertationenvironments participants. project3. Large-scale analysis of Emerging approaches. Capture and Learning Analyticsonline domains analysis of digital traces that people MOOCs leave online (patterns of their search behaviour, text analysis of emails, and hyperlinks). 9 (Eynon et al., 2008)
Methods (offline and online)Researching Questn’res Interviews Observations Documents Other? Printed, F2F In physical Paper ? Phenomenon that F2F, postal settings occur in realphysical world (e.g., Online Q Skype ? learning in Interviewsclassrooms, home) Printed, F2F -- Paper ? Phenomenon F2F, postal that occur online(e.g., online Online Q Skype Virtual Web Learning discussions) Interviews ethnography content Analytics analysis Social network 10 analysis
Why Internet-mediated methods, not off-line methods?• [responses] 11
Why Internet-mediated methods, not off-line methods?• Cost effective• Efficient use of time• Wider geographical coverage• Nature and quality of online interactions• Convenient for participants• Relevant for the research topic, questions (Hewson and Laurent, 2008) 12
Potential disadvantages of Internet-mediated methods•[responses] 13
Potential disadvantages of Internet-mediated methods•Reliability and validity of data – Sample bias, difficult to define sampling framework•Reduced levels of control – Hardware, software, browsers, not able to gauge participants’ reactions•Design issues – Formatting of online questionnaires•Advertising – Non-probability sampling•Non-response – Non participation to termination in the process (Hewson and Laurent, 2008; Vehover and Manfreda (2008) 14
Affordance of asynchronous and synchronous methods Synchronous AsynchronousTools: Tools: 15
A framework for combining internet-mediated and conventional methods in the research processStages / steps in the Internet-mediated Conventional methodresearch process methodAdvertisingEthical process(information, questionsand answers)Conducting the survey,interviewsFollow upData processingData storageData analysisReporting findingsOther? 16
3. Tools and examples [10 mins]• From Pelicans research project• From an MA IE dissertation research project• From Blackboard Dissertation research project• TR’s research project (in detail later, after the break) 17
4. Ethical implications [10 mins]• Ethical implications of using internet-based methods for educational research• How / why do the ethical implications emerge 18
Why consider ethical implications? “You owe a duty to yourself as a researcher, as well as to other researchers and to the subjects of and audiences for your research, to exercise responsibility in the processes of data collection, analysis and dissemination” (Blaxter et al, 1996: 146). 19
To help you ‘leave the field [in such a way] that future researchers are not disadvantaged’ (Eynon et al, 2008: 31). 20
Ethical frameworksDeontological ConsequentialistDoing good without Doing good with qualificationqualificationNot dependent on Dependent on consequencesconsequencesInner sense of duty based on Duty done in terms ofprinciples consequencesCategorical (imperatives Conditional or hypotheticaljudgments) judgmentsFig. 9.1 Deontological and consequentialist approaches to ethics (Hart, 2005: p. 280) 21
Ethical frameworksParticipant as a research Participant/poster as ansubject authorMedical sciences HumanitiesSocial sciencesProtection of the subject Copyrights, fair use(anonymity, confidentiality,informed consent (Ess, 2007: pp. 490-91) 22
Ethics – Stake-holders• Your institution• Professional associations• Research participants and the wider population• Profession• The researcher 23
Internet research methods and ethics• Debates on ethical issues – on going!• Internet for social researchers – opportunities!• Link between ethical issues and research methods and tools (e.g., social and participatory media)• Consequences of ignoring ethical codes! 25
Ethical issues associated with three approaches 26
(1). Using online methods to gather data directly from individuals• Online versions of traditional methods. What are they?• Different ethical challenges to f2f context(Mann, 2003)• Ethical challenges? – Difficult to assess the risk to participants, reactions to questions – Confidentiality and anonymity – Informed consent – Words much stronger when written down, permanent records, [stuff on episodic interviews [reference] 28
(2). Analysing online interactions on the Web • Examples? discussion boards / forums, chat rooms, 3D multi user virtual environments (eg. Second Life), online gaming environments. • Is online environment public, private or even a ‘third place’ (Oldenburg, 1989) • How might we treat the interactions occur in a VLE? • [disclosing identity as a researcher] 29
(3). Large-scale analysis of the online medium• Possibilities for gathering ‘powerful data … from the surveillance of online populations’ (Eynon et al, 2008: 31).• ‘Recording, reproducing, and analyzing interactions, especially covertly, are more powerful’ than it is the case with off line world (ibid, p. 31).• Learning Analytics, Google Analytics.• Ethical issues: Methodological (e.g., discourse analysis) 30
Four main areas of ethical principles 31 (Diener and Crandall, 1978, in Bryman, 2008, p. 118)
What might be the source of ethical concern?the research questionthe samplethe choice of methods (e.g., rationale for thechoice of methods not clear, appropriatenessof the method, how it is going to beimplemented)Other 32
1. Harm to participantsPotential problems Examples and implicationsPhysical harmHarm to participants developmentLoss of self-esteemStress(Diener and Crandall (1978: 19) 33
2. Informed consentPotential problems Examples and implicationsMaking sure participants haveopportunity clarify their questionsDigital signatures?Getting informed consent fromparticipants from an onlinecommunity (e.g., a MOOC) 34
3. Invasion of privacyPotential problems Examples and implicationsSearch and download history ?Potential access to informationthat can be harmful for peers…… 35
4. DeceptionExamples of harm to Examples and implicationsparticipantsRevealing your identity as a ?researcherThe duration of participation(realistic!)…….…. 36
A checklist of information to be included in an informed consent form• Outline of the purpose of the project• Notification to the participants that: – Participation is voluntary – Participants free to refuse to answer any of the questions (if interviews) – They could withdraw from the study at any time – They could withdraw their data within [specify the time] of the interview / participation – interview would be recorded – nobody but the researcher and the supervisors would listen to the interview – small sections might be heard by a few others – transcribed but all identifying information would be removed – parts of the interview might be used in the research publication(s) – sign the form to confirm their consent (Bryman, 2008: 123-24) 37
Ethics – professional associationsThe association URLEconomic and Social Research Council, http://www.esrc.ac.uk/about-‘Framework for research ethics esrc/information/research-ethics.aspxBritish Sociological Association, Statement http://www.britsoc.co.uk/media/27107/Staof Ethical Practice tementofEthicalPractice.pdfSocial Research Association (SRA), Ethical http://www.the-Guidelines sra.org.uk/documents/pdfs/ethics03.pdfBritish Psychological Society (BPS), Ethics http://www.bps.org.uk/what-we-do/ethics-and Standards standards/ethics-standardsBritish Educational Research Association, http://www.bera.ac.uk/category/keywords/ethicEthics and Educational ResearchAmerican Sociological Association, Code of http://www.asanet.org/about/ethics.cfmEthicsSouth African? 38
5. Internet mediated qualitativeinterviews – examples and critique [10 mins]• A chapter from Salmons (2012)• A framework for the critique and analysis [next slide] 39
5. A framework for critiquing the use of internet-mediated methods [5 mins per group] [10 mins]Motivation for Sampling and Interview style Technology: Ethical issueschoosing an recruiting and structure issues,internet- features,mediated lessonsmethod (Salmons, 2012) 40
6. Online questionnaire and interviews – an example from a UoL APG pilot study [suggestions for questions] [10 mins]On the online questionnaire: – the number of people who have viewed it, the number who began to fill it but gave up after a while, the number who completed partially, and the number who completed all the items in the questionnaire, the geographical spread of the respondents, other interesting points.On the qualitative interviews: – how many in the online questionnaire who have indicated they would like to take part in the interview, the number of interviews done, the length of each, the software or internet based tools that you have used to record the interviews, what ethical issues did you consider, how you recorded the interviews, how you transcribed the interviews, the geographical spread of the interviewee profile. 41
ReferencesEss, C. (2007) Internet Research Ethics. In Joinson, A. N. et al. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of InternetPsychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Eynon, R., Fry, J., & Schroeder, R. (2008) The Ethics of Internet Research. In Fielding, N. G., Lee, R. M. &Blank, G. (eds) (2008) The Sage Handbook of Online Research Methods. London: Sage.Fielding, N. G., Lee, R.M. & Blank, G. (eds) (2008) The Sage Handbook of Online Research Methods. London:Sage.Bryman, A. (2008) Social Research Methods. 3rd Edn. Oxford: OUP.Blaxter, L., Hughes, C. & Tight, M. (1996) How to research. Buckingham: Open University Press.Punch, K, F. (2008) Developing effective research proposals. 2nd Edn. London: Sage.Mann, C. (2003) Generating data online: ethical concerns and challenges for the C21 researcher. In Thorseth,M. (ed) Applied Ethics in Internet Research, pp.31-49. Trondheim: NTNU Publications Series No. 1.Oldenburg, R. (1989) The Great Old Place, New York: Marlowe and Co.Diener, E. & Crandall, R. (1978) Ethics in Social and Behavioural Research, Chicago: University of ChicagoPress.Lee, R.M., Fielding, N. & Blank, G. (2008) The Internet as a Research Medium: An Editorial Introduction to TheSage Handbook of Online Research Methods. In N. Fielding, R. M. Lee. & G. Blank (eds) (2008). The SageHandbook of Online Research Methods, pp. 3-20. London: Sage. 42