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Edirisingha ethics unisa2012_12_june2012

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This is the set of slides that I have used at the research ethics session at Unisa's research workshop, 12 June 2012.

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Edirisingha ethics unisa2012_12_june2012

  1. 1. Ethical considerations in researching onlinelearning and teaching #unisa12 Palitha Edirisingha University of Leicester Palitha Edirisingha, 12 June 2012, Unisa, South Africa
  2. 2. Session objectives• To be familiar with the ethical principles involved in social research• To consider possible links between research methods / methodological approaches and specific ethical issues• To raise awareness of the risks to participants, researchers, institutions, profession (research field) by not taking ethical codes seriously• To consider how ethical issues relating to Internet research might differ from research in traditional settings.
  3. 3. To help you ‘leave the field [in such as way] that future researchers are not disadvantaged’ (Eynon et al, 2008: 31).
  4. 4. Before we begin…• 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!
  5. 5. Ethics?“You owe a duty to yourself as a researcher, as wellas to other researchers and to the subjects of andaudiences for your research, to exerciseresponsibility in the processes of data collection,analysis and dissemination” (Blaxter et al, 1996: 146).
  6. 6. (Punch, 2008: 56-57)
  7. 7. 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)
  8. 8. 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)
  9. 9. Ethics – Stake-holders• Your institution• Professional associations• Research participants and the wider population• Profession• The researcher
  10. 10. 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?
  11. 11. Activity 1A review of main data collection methods, distinguishing features, and their ethical implications [5 mins]
  12. 12. Methods (offline and online)Researching Questn’res Interviews Observations Documents Other? Printed F2F in physical Paper ?learning and settingsteaching (f2f, Online Q Skype Int. ? ? ?correspondence) Printed F2F -- Paper ? onlinelearning and teaching Online Q Skype Int. Virtual Web Learning ethnography content Analytics analysis
  13. 13. Internet in the context of online research [2 mins]In social science research Examples from educational research?A major data resourceA lens through which to observe the subjects of research (and howthey construct their identities and communities online)A tool for gathering and analysing social science data on a large scale MOOCsA laboratory for the social sciences [a bit like astronomers using an i-Spot, Galaxy Zooobservatory to study the sky]Mechanism for communicating and collaborating with a distributedcommunity of peer researchers (e.g., Facebook Twitter [TB’s session] (Eynon et al., 2008)
  14. 14. Three main approaches to gathering internet-based data Approach Data collection methods used Examples 1. Online methods to gather surveys, interviews, focus groups, Pelicans, MOOSE data directly from individuals documents (artefacts) 2. Analysing online Participant observation, logging and Media and Comm interaction within virtual visualising interactions among dissertation environments participants. project 3. Large-scale analysis of Emerging! Capture and analysis of Learning Analytics online domains digital traces that people leave online MOOCs (patterns of their search behaviour, text analysis of emails, and hyperlinks)(Eynon et al., 2008)
  15. 15. Ethical issues associated with three approaches
  16. 16. (Eynon et al., 2008)
  17. 17. (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]
  18. 18. (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]
  19. 19. (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)
  20. 20. Here is a question!• You are the tutor / teacher / lecturer, and you are researching your students’ learning. Should you disclose your identity as a researcher?
  21. 21. And another one!• If you are a blogger or tweeter, and you observe some interesting stuff that fits into your on-going research (and maybe your book). And you might write about that observation later on. Should you have disclosed your identity as a ‘researcher’?
  22. 22. Activity 2An activity (in pairs, 3s or groups) based on four ethical principles [20 minutes]
  23. 23. Four main areas of ethical principles (Diener and Crandall, 1978, in Bryman, 2008, p. 118)
  24. 24. The Activity(in pairs, 3s or small groups) [20 minutes]
  25. 25. 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
  26. 26. 1. Harm to participantsPotential problems Examples and implicationsPhysical harmHarm to participants developmentLoss of self-esteemStress(Diener and Crandall (1978: 19)
  27. 27. 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)
  28. 28. 3. Invasion of privacyPotential problems Examples and implicationsSearch and download history ?Potential access to informationthat can be harmful for peers……
  29. 29. 4. DeceptionExamples of harm to Could this be the caseparticipantsRevealing your identity as a ?researcherThe duration of participation(realistic!)…….….
  30. 30. The worksheetto bedistributedamong theparticipants
  31. 31. Next three slides• Two brief descriptions of the research projects to be reviewed by participants – Project 1: Dissertation research and supervision with technology [DiReSTe] – Research Project 2: DUCKLING project
  32. 32. Project 1:Dissertationresearch andsupervisionwithtechnology[DiReSTe]
  33. 33. Project 1:Dissertationresearch andsupervisionwithtechnology[DiReSTe]
  34. 34. ResearchProject 2:DUCKLINGproject
  35. 35. Responses from the participants
  36. 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. 37. Concluding remarks• Planning the research so that you can ‘leave the field [in such as way] that future researchers are not disadvantaged’ (Eynon et al, 2008: 31)• Other take-home messages from the session…
  38. 38. 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.

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