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Methods as Ethics

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Reverse engineering, reflexivity, and other useful words for enacting ethical methods. Keynote given at the 2017 "Death Online Research Symposium" at Aarhus University, Denmark, April 8, 2017.

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Methods as Ethics

  1. 1. Twitter: @annettemarkham Web: annettemarkham.com Annette Markham, PhD . Professor MSO Information Studies & Digital Design Aarhus University [Reverse engineering, reflexivity, and other useful words for enacting ethical methods] Methods as Ethics
  2. 2. 1) How we move 2) Why it matters 3) How to rethink and reconfigure
  3. 3. AoIR Ethics Committee Microsoft Research Labs “Creating Future Memories” http://futuremaking.space Shifting from statements to questions over a ten-year revision Making abstract concepts like “ethics” more concrete like “avoiding the creepy factor” Building experimental frameworks For citizens to control their own future memory possibilities Creating more conscious responses and accounts
  4. 4. methods Conditions for inquiry Everyday practices of inquiry
  5. 5. methods Conditions for inquiry Everyday practices of inquiry How are our research sensibilities being framed? What frames are we teaching/training others to see? ethics
  6. 6. Ethics as general principles Ethics as regulated norms Ethics as a mindset or vision Ethics as everyday practice
  7. 7. Ethics as general principles Ethics as regulated norms Ethics as a mindset or vision Ethics as everyday practice
  8. 8. Respect (for a person’s autonomy and rights) Justice (fair distribution of benefits and risks; equitable treatment of all) Beneficence (action for the good of others, do no harm)
  9. 9. Human Subjects Informed Consent Privacy (and data) Protection Vulnerability Risk / Benefit Ratio *Institutional Research Boards
  10. 10. What is a Human Subject? How do we (should we) get Informed Consent? It’s (almost) impossible to protect privacy (PII) Vulnerability often occurs after the fact A Benefit/risks ratio is not a universal perspective
  11. 11. Shifting perspectives Regulation [error]-driven approaches Concept [regulated]-driven approaches Process-driven approaches
  12. 12. AOIR Ethics Guidelines 2012
  13. 13. AOIR Ethics Guidelines 2012
  14. 14. Regulation (error)-driven approaches Concept (regulated)-driven approaches Process (question)-driven approaches How can we avoid the creepy factor? How can we modify the concepts in order to match new complexities? What does the context require? What is the goal of research in the first place? Shifting perspectives
  15. 15. Regulation (error)-driven approaches Concept (regulated)-driven approaches Process (question)-driven approaches Future (impact)-oriented approaches Shifting perspectives
  16. 16. methods Conditions for inquiry Everyday practices of inquiry How are our research sensibilities being framed? What frames are we teaching others to see? ethics impact Future harms and possibilities based on our research practices Motivation for doing research in the first place
  17. 17. Impact framework for ethics and methods Impact Arena 1: Treatment of people (beyond human subject or participant) Impact Arena 2: Use of data to make categorizations, inferences and conclusions. Impact Arena 3: Unintended side effects of technology design, prototype testing, or research design Impact Arena 4: Future possibilities and harms related to production and deployment, or dissemination
  18. 18. Impact framework for ethics and methods Impact Arena 1: Treatment of people (beyond human subject or participant) Impact Arena 2: Use of data to make categorizations, inferences and conclusions. Impact Arena 3: Unintended side effects of technology design, prototype testing, or research design Impact Arena 4: Future possibilities and harms related to production and deployment, or dissemination
  19. 19. We must take to task the myth that method purifies subjectivity. Methods mold subjectivity, not into patterns that erase all emotions from the researchers’ sensing body but into patterns that produce emotions of a different order, and also into attitudes that too often privilege cognitively driven procedures and social research. (remixed from James Davies, 2015, p. 13)
  20. 20. Decision Points Critical Movements Generating Questions Determining case or field boundaries Accessing Participants or Materials Sorting. Filtering, and selecting’what counts’ Collecting Information Using particular analytical tools Representing self and other in reports Identifying objects of analysis Sorting, thematizing, categorizing Discarding information Interpreting findings Framing Knowledge for the audience .
  21. 21. Granularity Reverse Engineering Remix or Bricolage Reflexivity Layered Accounts Crystalization

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