Internet research and the implications for ethical research practice

Jackson, Annmare and Brownlow, Charlotte and Machin, Tanya ORCID: (2016) Internet research and the implications for ethical research practice. In: Australasian Ethics Network Conference (AEN 2016), 23-25 Nov 2016, Adelaide, South Australia.

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The Internet has extended the opportunity for researchers to investigate human actions and interactions. This study aims to critically examine the various ways that ethical considerations associated with Internet-Mediated Research (IMR) are constructed as a social reality by Australian Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) and the implications for research practice. This project builds on research undertaken in the United States by Buchannan and Ess (2009) which discussed US Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and the state of Internet research ethics. An explanatory sequential mixed design, consisting of two distinct phases was conducted (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2003). Quantitative data was collected and analysed in the first phase (Study 1) via an online survey of Australian Human Research Ethics Committee members from March to April 2016. Semi-structured interviews (n=3) were then conducted with Chairpersons of Australian Human Research Ethics Committees (Study 2) and analysed to further explain and clarify results found in the first data collection phase. Results of current processes and practices of Australian HRECs obtained in Study 1 were found to be similar to those reported by US IRBs and suggested that ethical review boards may be ill-equipped and ill-trained to navigate the review of IMR protocols. However, the addition of a qualitative overlay via the Australian HREC Chairperson’s interviews in Study 2 provided additional detail that suggested that reviewing IMR protocols is more complex than previously understood. Thematic analysis of the interview data identified that the ethical review of IMR protocols is thoroughly undertaken via a principle-based process as it is not viewed as being different to any other research method or tool. Additionally, ethical responsibility in this space is shared amongst the HREC, researchers, and participants themselves.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 -)
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2017 23:24
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2018 03:24
Uncontrolled Keywords: Internet Research; human research ethics; online research; internet research ethics; research ethics; human subjects; mixed methods
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5299 Other psychology > 529999 Other psychology not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

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