Ethical issues in a study of internet use: Uncertainty, responsibility, and the spirit of research relationships
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ethics and Behavior 6 (2):141 – 151 (1996)
In this article we explore ethical issues arising in a study of home Internet use by low-income families. We consider questions of our responsibility as educational researchers and discuss the ethical implications of some unanticipated consequences of our study. We illustrate ways in which the principles of research ethics for use of human subjects can be ambiguous and possibly inadequate for anticipating potential harm in educational research. In this exploratory research of personal communication technologies, participants experienced changes that were personal and relational. These unanticipated changes in their way of being complicated our research relationships, testing the boundaries of our commitment to the principle of trustworthiness and forcing us to reevaluate our responsibilities.
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