What is special about the ethical issues in online research?

Ethics and Information Technology 4 (3):195-203 (2002)
Abstract
In the analysis of the ethicalproblems of online research, there is much tobe learned from the work that has already beendone on research ethics in the socialsciences and the humanities. I discuss thestructure of norms in the Norwegian ethicalguidelines for research in the social scienceswith respect to their relevance for the ethicalissues of Internet research. A four-stepprocedure for the ethical evaluation ofresearch is suggested. I argue that eventhough, at one level, the problems of onlineresearch are very similar to those we find intraditional areas of social scientificresearch, there still are some issues that areunique to research online. A general model forthe analysis of privacy and data protection issuggested. This model is then used tocharacterize the special problems pertaining tothe protection of privacy in online contexts,and to argue that one cannot assume a simpledistinction between the private and the publicwhen researching in such contexts.
Keywords consent  deontology  ethical guidelines  Internet research  online research  privacy  research ethics
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