13 November 2009

The Ethics of Conducting Research on the Internet

For those researching questions using the internet ethical considerations should be at the forefront of their practice. Issues such as participant protection, confidentiality, verifying identity, informed consent, withdrawal, debriefing and deception are important considerations when working remotely from the participants of investigations and experiments.

In 2007 the British Psychological Society's 'Working Party on Conducting Research on the Internet' issued a set of guidelines for ethical practice in psychological research online. This document, although dated due to advances in information technology since its issue, provides a good starting point for everyone conducting research online. There is no mention of virtual worlds as such but the principles laid down here along with the BPS existing ethical guidelines for research are sound.

Download the document here


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