Nouhad J. Rizk
Senior Lecturer, Computer Science Department, Notre Dame University, Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon
Elias M. Choueiri
Chairman, Business Computer Department, Lebanese University, Karm El Zeitoun, Lebanon
President, Lebanese Association for Public Safety, Lebanon
WSO Liaison Officer to the United Nations, USA
Keywords: Ethics, Qualitative research, Internet-based research.
Abstract: As a key form of communications technology, the internet has created new methodological approaches for
social science research. This study focuses on moral issues created by information technology for qualitative
research environments. The primary concern is with ethical analysis and legal issues and how both are
applied to, although not limited to, issues of privacy, intellectual property, information access, interpersonal
communication, moral and civil rights, responsibility and liability, and professional codes as well as some
social implications of technology. The Internet is now exposed to a growing number and a wider variety of
threats and vulnerabilities. Moreover, Internet-based research raises several ethical questions and introduces
new ethical challenges, especially pertaining to privacy, informed consent and confidentiality and
anonymity. This study aims to highlight the main ethical issues in electronic qualitative research and to
provide some guidance for those doing or reviewing such research. While recognizing the reservations held
about strict ethical guidelines for electronic qualitative research, this study opens the door for further debate
of these issues so that the social science research community can move towards the adoption of agreed
standards of good practice. In addition, it suggests that empirical research is desirable in order to quantify
the actual risks to participants in electronic qualitative studies.
Ethics are norms or standards of behavior that guide
moral choices about one’s behavior and
relationships with others. The goal of ethics in
research is to ensure that no one is harmed or suffers
adverse consequences from research activities
(Cooper and Schindler, 2003).
Johnson (2001) raises a central meta-ethical issue
of whether, at one extreme, computer ethics (CE)
represents nothing new and/or, at the other extreme,
CE represents radically new ethical issues for which
the traditional ethics framework are largely useless.
The term computer ethics is open to interpretations
both broad and narrow. On the one hand, for
example, computer ethics might be understood very
narrowly as the efforts of professional philosophers
to apply traditional ethical theories such as
utilitarianism, kantianism, or virtue ethics to issues
regarding the use of computer technology. On the
other hand, it is possible to construe computer ethics
in a very broad way to include, as well, standards of
professional practice, codes of conduct, aspects of
computer law, public policy, corporate ethics -- even
certain topics in the sociology and psychology of
computing (Spinello, 2003).
Online ethics raises the issue of universal or
relative ethics across continents and cultures. Thus
ethical issues deal with ethical practice, but ethics is
itself a field socially constituted and situated.
However, there is no answer to the question of
whether research ethics should be of universal
application or dependent on time and place. This
raises problems concerning how to understand
concepts and phenomena such as privacy,
J. Rizk N. and M. Choueiri E. (2006).
In Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems - ISAS, pages 126-134
DOI: 10.5220/0002448301260134
confidentiality and harm across culture (Birch and
Miller, 2002).
The twenty-first century is sometimes called the
Knowledge-Information Society. This is because
knowledge and information are essential elements in
this century. As the Internet is the main tool behind
this info-society, there is a drive to develop a secure
cyber world so that users can communicate private
and public information through the Internet with
safety. However, anonymity on the Internet cannot
be resolved and tends to diminish responsibility and
accountability of users (De George, 2003).
This study aims at highlighting the main ethical
issues in electronic qualitative research and at
providing some guidance for those doing or
reviewing such research. While recognizing the
reservations held about strict ethical guidelines for
electronic qualitative research, this study opens the
door for further debate of these issues so that the
social science research community can move
towards the adoption of agreed standards of good
practice. In addition, it proposes that empirical
research is desirable in order to quantify the actual
risks to participants in electronic qualitative studies.
Pring (2002) explores the contentious relationship
between codes of ethics in research and the range of
virtues demanded of ethical researchers in the face
of temptation. These virtues are the disposition to
find out and to tell the truth as it is and not as one
would like it to be; second, the respect for
participants who are the objects of the research;
third, the courage to resist the opposition of
powerful persons when conclusions are critical;
fourth the modesty to recognize the tentative nature
of their conclusions; and fifth the trustworthiness
which allows the participants and those interested in
the research to accept both data and conclusions
drawn from those data.
Silverman (2001) and Small (2002) expand the
relationship between codes of ethics in research and
the range of virtues demanded of ethical researchers
in the face of temptation described by Pring (2002).
They believe that researchers should be in a position
to justify the decisions made as a result of the
following considerations should it be required: the
value of the research, informed consent, openness
and honesty, right to withdraw without penalty,
confidentiality and anonymity, protection from
harm, briefing and debriefing, reimbursements,
payments and rewards, suitability/experience of
researcher, ethics standards of external bodies and
institutions, reporting on ethical issues throughout
research for clients/consultants and intended
2.1 Informed Consent and
In order to be informed prior to consenting, the
participant should have an understanding of project
aims, objectives, any potential benefits or harm that
may arise and likely outcome of the research.
Informed consent should also be based on an
understanding that participation is voluntary. This
issue needs to be emphasized as it may lead to
feelings of obligation or gratitude (Lewis, 2003).
In situations when respondents are intentionally
or accidentally deceived, the researcher should share
the truth of any deception (Cooper and Schindler,
2003). Even when research does not deceive the
respondents, it is a good practice to offer them
follow-up information.
2.2 Access and Acceptance
The relevance of the principle of informed consent
becomes apparent at the initial stage of the research.
That of access to the institution or organization
where the research is to be conducted, and
acceptance of those whose permission one needs
before embarking into the task. Thus, accessibility of
information is a precondition of a proper discussion
of any opinion, policy or practice (Pring, 2002). The
first stage involves the gaining of official permission
to undertake one’s research in the community, and to
access the required information.
2.3 Confidentiality and Anonymity
Anonymity means the identity of those taking part
not being known outside the research team. In most
cases, absolute guarantees of anonymity cannot be
given and the participant should be aware of who
may know of their participation (Birch and Miller,
Confidentiality means avoiding the attribution of
comments, in reports or presentation, to identified
participants. Thus, if archiving of qualitative data is
envisaged, there are also issues about whether
consent to archive is required, and whether data sets
should be anonymized before archiving. Privacy is
normal practice in research and law and it is
important not only to retain validity of the research
but also to protect respondents (Lewis, 2003; Cooper
and Schindler, 2003).
Individual right to privacy is usually contrasted
with the public right to know. In the context of
research, therefore, right to privacy may be easily
violated during the research or denied after it has
been completed. The researcher has to balance the
right to know against the possible harm which might
follow from the research (Pring, 2002).
2.4 Protection from Harm and
Researchers have a responsibility to ensure that the
physical, social and psychological well-being of
research participants is not affected in an adverse
manner by the research. Moreover, researchers may
also place themselves at risk. Thus, arrangements
should be made at the beginning of the study to
minimize any possible risk. The relationship
between the researcher and the participants should
be of mutual respect and based, wherever possible,
on trust (Birch and Miller, 2002). The researcher has
the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that inquiry
is not only done honestly, but done with ethical
integrity. For example, the lack of reciprocity is
definitely an ethical challenge highlighted in cross-
cultural studies (Ryen, 2004). Reciprocity can be
materialized as taking something back to the
community in which the study takes place or
including some form of social action or change.
Moreover, the selection of data does not refer to the
quality of qualitative research only, but also to ethics
(Silverman, 2001). Another ethical responsibility of
researchers is their team’s safety as well as their
own. However, researchers should remember that
respondents are not totally powerless, and that they
can withhold their participation as long as
researchers do not do rapport too convincingly.
2.5 Educational Researcher Virtues:
Openness and Honesty
A virtuous researcher may be aware of difficulties
that others would not be; such a researcher will bring
factors into the deliberations which others will omit
(Pring, 2002). Education is a social process, and so
in its way is research into education. It too requires
interpersonal skills of a high order, supported by
human personal and professional values rooted in a
shared culture if researchers are to deal effectively
with the ethical challenges of the research process
(Cohen and Manion, 1994).
However, a researcher can betray participants by
publicising data disclosed in confidence in such a
way as to cause embarrassment, anxiety, or perhaps
suffering to the participant. It is a breach of trust and
the participant is deceived. Thus, one of the
researcher virtues is to balance power and values,
informed consent and the manner in which research
data and results are presented (Trauth, 1997).
2.6 Relevancy to Context:
An educational research envisages searching for new
knowledge, with improved practice and new
understanding emerging through critical inquiry.
Thus, the applicability of this new understanding
and these practices to wider contexts depends on the
nature of the research, on the way in which it is
reported and on the research community. A research
community may provide the forum or the context in
which criticism, which supports knowledge growth,
would be invited and welcomed and become part of
the normal life of an educational institution (Pring,
2002). But such an invitation is risky as it is difficult
to sustain (Calvey, 2000; Hamelink, 2000).
2.7 Research Strategy, Ethics and
Ethical issues may stem from the kinds of problems
investigated by social scientists and the methods
they use to obtain valid and reliable data (Cohen and
Manion, 1994). Small (2002) argues that an
alternative to reliance on a code of ethics is to place
more emphasis on procedures and strategies for
making ethical decisions. Moreover, the individual’s
development of the capacity to make ethical
decisions about the design and the conduct of
research is a great support of ethical issues on
educational research (Ryen, 2004).
The question remains of the extent to which
professional researchers are governed by laws and
regulations. These exist at several levels: state legal
statutes, ethical review committee to oversee
research in universities, and ethical codes of the
professional bodies and associations as well as the
personal ethics of individual researchers are
important regulatory mechanisms.
In the Information Age, computer ethics are growing
and changing rapidly as computer technology also
grows and develops. However, truthfulness is one of
the values necessary for the success of the
information revolution. ICT ethics are not excepted
from the above-mentioned view of ethics as
applicable to all human development in today’s
society where information and communication
technology have come to define how people live and
work, and have critically affected culture and values
(Rizk and Busher, 2004).
All types of internet-based research make
people’s interactions through the use of a computer
as a tool uniquely accessible for researchers and
erases boundaries of time and distance. Such
research raises new issues in research ethics,
particularly concerning informed consent and
privacy of research subjects, as the border between
public and private spaces is sometimes blurred
(Spinello, 2003). Thus, the following ethical
dilemmas emerge while doing Internet-based
3.1 Dilemma 1: Security
Holvast (1996) discusses the question that the
technology is capable of not only constructing the
world but of destroying it as well. The challenges lie
mainly in the general lack of awareness of
information security issues, the rapidly evolving
complexity, capacity and reach of information and
communication technology, the anonymity afforded
by these technologies, and the transnational nature
of communication networks. Thus, Internet research
may be biased due to minimal security measures.
For example e-mail communication may sometimes
be re-routed to unanticipated locations due to
technical malfunctions within the computer network
(Frankel and Siang, 1999), which affects the validity
and reliability of data collected. However, in some
cases the minimum security provides greater
convenience for someone with online access to
participate in the study not willing to do it in
physical world (Murray and Sixsmith, 1998).
3.2 Dilemma 2: Property
Ryen (2004) argues that while performing a long-
lasting online interview, she had to reflect on how to
make the interviewee keep up his/her interest in the
communication, as the interviewee may not be as
enthusiastic as the researcher. The main dilemma
she faced in the online environment was that of
obtaining the interviewee’s permission to publish the
data. The data property should be made clear while
obtaining informed consent. Another dilemma of
asymmetry and imbalance is also noticed by Ryen
when the interviewee replies with long narratives
after a long silence.
3.3 Dilemma 3: Biased
Through the internet identities, relationships, and
social structures can be constituted solely through
the exchange of texts. This can be accomplished by
giving careful reflection to the outcome of
interpretation and critical examination of the extent
to which the interpretation reflects one’s own biases
versus the experiences of the participants (Markham,
2004). Moreover, the conversational style with a
written form suffers from problems of
3.4 Dilemma 4: Destruction of Local
Capurro and Pingel (2002) raise the issue of oral
culture. They argue that “Online communication has
brought about a renaissance of oral culture, although
the Internet in its early years has been a written
medium. E-mail, forums, and chats have clearly oral
dimensions, independently of their (until now)
written form. The examples of Internet-TV, Internet-
Radio, Internet-Telephone, Mobile-Internet, etc.,
make the orality of Internet culture unmistakable”.
The resulting globalization has often appeared
destructive of local cultures (Hamelink, 2000).
3.5 Dilemma 5: Education
A lack of understanding among researchers and
potential subjects regarding the technical
components and limits of the Internet may
complicate the issue of privacy and confidentiality.
Therefore, the internet researchers should be
knowledgeable about the power and the limits of
their research medium (Frankel and Siang, 1999). In
order to grasp the complexity of online research,
professional societies should develop ethical
guidelines and educate researchers on technology
and on Internet ethics.
In electronic qualitative research trustworthiness and
reliability depend upon how the data are being
collected and analyzed. The principles previously
mentioned regarding traditional research ethics are
guidelines and values that Internet researchers must
take as normative or at least as an initial ethical
starting point. The new dimensions of these
principles can be the following:
4.1 Informed Consent
When research participants are to be exposed to
pain, physical or emotional injury, invasions of
privacy, or physical or psychological stress, or when
they are asked to surrender their autonomy
temporarily, informed consent must be fully
guaranteed but under the Internet all of these are
protected by nature as identities can be easily
hidden. However, the difficulty to have informed
consent of subjects makes internet-based research
(cyber-research) particularly vulnerable to ethical
breaches by ever more scrupulous scholars
(Spinello, 2003).
Thus, the need to rethink routes and modes of
access, both at the outset and once electronic
qualitative research is underway, is clearly
necessary. The question of who is actually giving
consent and of what must be considered is raised
(Miller and Bell, 2002). Moreover, the differences
between gaining access and gaining consent are not
always clear.
4.2 Access, Acceptance and Security
The production of new knowledge requires access to
relevant data (Pring, 2002). Data-mining is the
process of discovering useful information within a
database that can then be used to improve actions
(Quinn, 2005). Homan (2002) among others argues
that collecting data in educational research is
problematic. Thus, the mining of the data collected
from advanced technological tools to track
participants offers infinite possibility for research
abuses. The primary ethical data-mining issues in
cyberspace are privacy and consent. There is no
comprehensive act or rules or regulations about
privacy. Participants in an electronic qualitative
research should be aware that there is no secure
access to any electronic information. Any
professional hacker can access the information
without the consent of the person concerned,
whether he/she is a participant or a researcher.
Moreover, the participants’ privacy can be violated
by spamming, which is the practice of receiving
unsolicited emails. Westfall (1997) raises the issues
of security and confidentiality. He argues that when
information security is violated a great deal of
damage can be done, for example to individuals
rights. One of the solutions to security issues is data
encryption, which is difficult to implement in
electronic qualitative research. Considering
confidentiality, most of the information collected is
used for what is intended.
4.3 Confidentiality and Anonymity
Confidentiality and anonymity becomes a real issue
when data are recorded on computer. Once the
guarantee of confidentiality is given, protecting that
confidentiality is essential. But privacy is more than
confidentiality. General privacy laws may not be
sufficient to protect the unsuspecting in the
cyberspace realm of data collection. However,
participants’ right to privacy leads them to refuse to
be interviewed by neglecting the researcher’s virtual
request to be a participant at the first place or to
refuse to answer any question later on. Thus,
researchers are obliged to protect human subjects
and do right in electronic venue as in more
conventional ones during the whole process (Frankel
and Siang, 1999).
Anonymity in text-based environments gives one
more choices and control in the presentation of self,
whether or not the presentation is perceived as
intended. Thus, anonymous internet-based
interactions facilitate knowledge of self and the
other that is interwoven with naming and perception,
and yet is fundamentally grounded in the exchange
of texts. Authenticity, in this case, is found as much
attached in the perception of participants as in the
body title attached to the name (Markham, 2004).
Capurro and Pingel (2002) argue that face-to-face
communication has not a higher degree of moral
authenticity. We may lie face-to-face and tell the
truth in a chat-room or vice-versa.
4.4 Protection from Harm
Ess (2003) and Elgesem (1999) and other
researchers discuss the issue of protecting
participants from harm while doing research.
Capurro and Pingel (2002) hold up the same
concerns but while doing Internet research. They say
that “when facing issues of identity, a main
challenge for the ethics of online communication
research concerns the awareness of these differences
between digital identities and their bodily source and
the possible individual and social harm the
researcher may cause when categorizing and
reporting data that may influence directly or
indirectly the digital and/or bodily life of people
with their different life projects”. There is a need for
the researcher to be trusted and thus to be
trustworthy as well as for his/her keeping his’s own
moral virtues such as dispositions like courage,
kindness, generosity of spirit, honesty and concern
for justice (Pring, 2002). Moreover, the researcher
has to set out the kind of knowledge required which
will affect the nature of harm with regard to the
types of questions asked.
4.5 Educational Researcher Virtues
While using IT, education is a needed virtue. The
education of both users and researchers is needed to
consistently emphasize the various ethical issues and
ethically-relevant facts of using IT and researching
those uses. For example posting labels such as
ethical warning labels warns users that their postings
are not necessarily private. Moreover, the researcher
should be aware of the language used in the online
communication. Thus, the possibility of
misunderstanding due to different pre-
understandings and cultural background becomes all
the more likely since there is no spatio-temporal gap
hinting to a possible distance (AoIR, 2001).
4.6 Relevancy to Context:
Scharf (1999) illuminates a set of ethical issues that
are typical of online research: the morally relevant
differences between observation, recording and
reporting in electronic contexts, the need to get the
subject’s consent, the relevancy of the private /
public distinction in such a field, and what are the
expectations of the participants in online field
concerning how information will be used.
One can usefully conceptualize the Internet as a
tool for retrieving or transmitting information and
connecting with others. There is an elegant
simplicity in the idea of studying Internet context as
a social scientist, collecting, analyzing, and
interpreting data to build theory and knowledge of
this network of social potential (Markham, 2004).
Hine argues that seeking authenticity in these
contexts is negotiated and situated: “A search for
truly authentic knowledge about people or
phenomena is doomed to be ultimately irresolvable”
(2000, p. 49). Complicating the issue of authenticity,
the online person may be much more fluid and
4.7 Research Strategy, Ethics and
Users may be less informed about the issues
involved in textual production via the Internet than
in print media or traditional broadcast media such as
the radio or television. There is a need that
addresses the risks of Internet use (Hamelink, 2000),
for example, the minimum code of conduct while
focusing on the usage of email within an existing
environment and the personal responsibilities as the
sender of messages. Electronic Mail is a vital asset,
both as a communication tool and as an information
resource, and as such requires protection from
unauthorized access and misuse. Therefore, a clear
and well-followed research strategy has to be
adopted in electronic qualitative research.
Research involving human subjects is premised
on a fundamental moral commitment to advancing
human welfare, knowledge and understanding, and
to examining cultural dynamics. There is an urgent
need therefore, to mitigate the misuse of Internet at
early stages and promote the ethical use of Internet
through the awareness and educational programs and
enacting suitable cyber laws. Cyber law has to tackle
any misuse of the Internet, such as unauthorized
access and breaching participants’ and researcher’s
privacy (Nissenbaum, 2004).
The similarities lie in primary ethical consideration
such as not to do harm, to preserve anonymity and to
specify property. Moreover, the utilitarian efforts to
balance long-term benefits against short-term harm,
the deontological understanding of people and their
rights, the ethics virtue, and the conception of
human nature are also common meta-ethical
considerations for the conventional and for the
online research. Differences lie in the difficulty of
protecting privacy and anonymity and in getting
informed consent. Diversity of research venues and
the global reach of media evoke the risk of doing
research online. Therefore, differences between
traditional and Internet research include greater risk
to individual privacy and confidentiality because of
greater accessibility of information (Quinn, 2005);
challenges to researchers because of difficulty in
obtaining informed consent (Homan, 2002);
difficulty of ascertaining participants’ identity
(Cooper and Schindler, 2003; Ess, 2003); difficulty
in discerning ethically correct approaches because of
the diversity of research venues such as e-mail,
chartrooms and WebPages (Markham, 2004); and
difficulty of discerning ethically correction
approaches because of the global reach of media
involved, which involves different cultures (AoIR,
However, the differences between traditional and
online human subjects research warrant certain sorts
of limitations and exceptions. Traditional guidelines
recognize exceptions to the requirement for
obtaining informed consent such as when identifying
the purpose of the research may unduly affect the
behavior of the participants. In addition, Internet
research makes acquiring informed consent very
difficult, if not impossible in cases where age is
concealed, or in cases of research using chat rooms
so the population shifts and changes (Miller and
Bell, 2002). In light of these differences, exception
to the requirement to obtain informed consent may
be ethically justified as under the Internet user
names are already pseudonymous. Thus,
pseudonyms are usually taken as sufficient
protection of the participants’ real-world identity. It
might be argued that referring to this pseudonym in
published research would provide the subject with as
much protection of privacy and confidentiality as
referring to the subject’s real-world identity-- should
such references be justifiable (Sveningsson, 2001).
It is worth mentioning that one of the difficulties
for both traditional researchers and online
researchers lies in determining what harm there is
and how far it is reasonable to protect subjects from
any kind of harm that may follow from their
participation in a research study (Miller and Bell,
Internet research in contrast with traditional human
subject research requires careful study and attention
from ethically-informed perspectives (Small, 2002).
This study tries to acquaint the researchers with
some of the ethical difficulties they are likely to
experience in the conduct of Internet research.
Internet research is distinctive because it is highly
interdisciplinary. Because this study tries to
highlight the ethical considerations in conducting
electronic qualitative research, additional ethical
positions and guidelines are important to supplement
those of sociology, ethnography, psychology and
Although no code of practice can anticipate or
resolve problems (Small, 2002), Cohen and Manion
(1994) describe a six-fold advantage in fading a
personal code of online ethical practice: First, such a
code establishes one as a member of the wider
community, having a shared interest in its values and
concerns. Second, a code of ethical practice makes
researchers aware of their obligations to the
participants. Third, when one’s professional
behavior is guided by a principled code of ethics,
one can be confronted by a moral challenge to be
more or less ethical. Fourth, a balanced code can
serve as an organizing factor in researchers’
perceptions of the research situation. Fifth, a code of
practice validated by their own sense of rightness
will help researchers to develop an intuitive
sensitivity which helps them in dealing with
unexpected events. And six, a code of practice will
bring discipline to researcher’s awareness.
Walker (1997) proposes that an ethics of
responsibility provides an alternative framework for
appreciating ethical dimensions against the ethics of
care present in some feminist debates. Yet the call
for an understanding of the research relationship
from the perspectives of participants together with
the researchers’ own reflexive account of the
research process, can pose further dilemmas (Birch
and Miller, 2002). The researcher has to link a set of
practices to a framework of ethical responsibilities
that demands close attention to be paid to the
process of participation. Feminist researchers have
recognized and increasingly documented the need to
reflect on the relationship between the ways in
which participants are accessed and the data
collected and the ways in which decisions are taken
around access (Mauthner, 2000).
Elgesem (1999) argues that a primary way of
resolving ethical issues is to respect first of all the
expectations of the persons involved. This attention
to expectations, moreover, is supported by Capurro
and Pingel’s call for an ethics of care and a specific
practice of respect for the interests and values of the
people subject to online research (Capurro and
Pingel, 2002). More broadly, the importance of
expectations is supported by strategies forwarded,
for example, by Ess (2003) that emphasize an effort
to empathically understand and support, so far as
possible, the perspectives and views of one's group
of study. This is, more broadly, a form of the golden
rule, which, whatever its complications in praxis,
remains an important guideline for ethical behavior.
Doucet and Mauthner (2002) develop two
arguments that point to concrete ways of conducting
ethical research practice, as well as to dilemmas that
occur while attempting to do so. The first argument
focuses on research relationship. The second
argument is about ethical issues of accountability.
The fact that research respondents are not a
homogenous group can be an additional dilemma.
They argue that research may be best served by
situational or contextualized ethics.
Ethics in qualitative research examines the
theoretical and practical aspects of ethical dilemmas
in qualitative research. For many researchers, ethics
has been associated with following ethical
guidelines and gaining ethics approval from
academic bodies. However, the complexities of
researching private lives and placing accounts in the
public arena increasingly raise ethical issues, which
are not easily solved by rules and guidelines. This
study addresses the gap between traditional ethical
principles and online research practice that inform it,
focusing on exploring ethical issues in research from
a range of angles, including access and informed
consent, and tensions between being a professional
researcher and a caring professional (Doucet and
Mauthner, 2002; Capurro and Pingel, 2002; Ess,
2003). Thus, this study comes out with a conclusion
that being ethical in online research practice
involves varied degrees of four ethical factors,
namely responsibility, accountability, caring and
relationship. Electronic qualitative research is
effective if it encompasses simultaneously the four
factors just mentioned as a norm for ethics online. In
the light of the online ethical norm, ethical principles
are important for conducting an electronic
qualitative research.
Thus, it is important to adopt old principles for a
new ethics or new laws on the Internet. The
principles are equality, non-discrimination in access
and use; inviolability, or the inadmissibility of
intentional harm against humans and liberty, or
absence of external coercion or constraints that
obstruct self-determination (Hamelink, 2000). In
other words, doing online research is not much
different from doing any research (Jones, 2003).
Yet the Internet poses several challenges in
attempting to identify and measure benefits and
risks. More work is needed on defining what
constitutes benefits and risks in Internet research.
Thus, there is a need to balance the interest and to
specify priorities while doing online research.
AoIR (Association of Internet Researchers) (2001) AoIR
ethics working committee - a preliminary report.
Birch, M. and Miller, T. (2002) Encouraging
Participation: ethics and responsibility. In M.
Mauthner, M. Birch, J. Jessop and T. Miller (eds),
Ethics in Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage, pp. 91-106
Calvey, D. (2000) In G. Lee-Treweek and S. Linkogle
(eds), Danger in the Field: Risk and Ethics in Social
Research: London: Routledge
Capurro, R, and Pingel, C. (2002) Ethical Issues of Online
Communication Research. Ethics and Information
Technology . ONLINE:
Cohen, L. and Manion, L. (1994) Research Methods in
Education. London: Routledge.
Cooper, D. and Schindler, P. (2003) Business Research
Methods, (8ed). The McGraw-Hill Company, Inc.
De George, R. (2003) The Ethics of Information
Technology and Business. U.K.: Blackwell
Doucet, A. and Mauthner, N. (2002) Knowing
responsibility: Linking ethics, research practice and
epistemology. In M. Mauthner, M. Birch, J. Jessop
and T. Miller (eds), Ethics in Qualitative Research.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 123-145
Elgesem, (1999) What is special about the ethical issues in
online research? ONLINE:
Ess, C. (2003) Are we there yet? Emerging ethical
guidelines for online research. In Shing-Ling Sarina
Chen, G. Johm Hall and M.D. Johns (eds), Online
Social Research: Methods, Issues and Ethics. New
York: Peter Lang
Frankel, M. and Siang, S. (1999) Ethical and legal aspects
of human subjects research on the Internet. A report
of a Workshop, Washington DC
Hamelink, C. ( 2000) The Ethics of Cyberspace. London:
Sage Publications.
Hine, C. (2000) Virtual Ethnography. London: Sage.
Holvast, J. (1996) Codes of Ethics. In J. Berleur and K.
Brunnstein (eds), Ethics of Computing: Codes, Spaces
for Discussion and Law, London: Chapman and Hall
Homan, R. (2002) The principle of assumed consent: the
ethics of gatekeeping. In M. McNamee and D. Bridges
(eds), The Ethics of educational Research. London:
Blackwell Publishing, pp. 89-110
Johnson, D. (2001) Computer Ethics.3rd ed. Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Prentice-Hall
Lewis, J. (2003) Design issues. In Ritchie, J. and Lewis, J.
(eds), Qualitative Research Practice. London: Sage.
Markham, A. (2004) The Internet as research context. In
C. Seale, G. Gobo, J.F. Gubrium and D. Silverman
(eds), Qualitative Research Practice. Thousand Oaks,
CA: Sage, pp. 358-374
Mauthner, M. (2000) Snippets and silences: ethics and
reflexivity in narratives of sistering. International
Journal of Social Research Methodology, vol. 3, no. 4,
pp. 287-306
Miller, D. and Bell, L. (2002) Consenting to what? Issues
of access, gate-keeping and informed consent. In M.
Mauthner, M. Birch, J. Jessop and T. Miller (eds),
Ethics in Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage, pp. 53-69
Murray, CD. and Sixsmith, J. (1998) E-mail: a Qualitative
research Medium for Interviewing? International
Journal of Social Research Methodology, vol. 1, no. 2,
pp. 103-121
Nissenbaum, H. (2004) Privacy as contextual integrity.
Washington Law Review, vol. 79, no. 1, pp. 119-158
Pring, R. (2002) The Virtues and Vices of an Educational
Researcher. In A. McNamee and D. Bridges, The
Ethics of Educational Research, London: Blackwell
Publishing, pp. 111-127
Quinn, M. (2005) Ethics for the Information Age, U.S.A:
Pearson Education
Rizk, N. and Busher, H., (2004) Changing University
Culture through Introducing Technology. In
Proceedings of the IADAT-E2004, pp. 1-32, Bilbao,
Ryen, A. (2004) Ethical issues. In C. Seale, G. Gobo, J.F.
Gubrium and D. Silverman (eds), Qualitative Research
Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 230-247
Scharf, B. (1999) Beyond Netiquette: The Ethics of
Doing Naturalistic Discourse Research on the Internet.
In S. Jones (ed), Doing Internet Research. London:
Sage, pp. 243-256
Silverman, D. (2001) Interpreting Qualitative Data:
Methods for Analyzing talk, Text and Interaction.
London: Sage
Small, R. (2002) Codes are not enough: What philosophy
can contribute to the ethics of educational research. In
M. McNamee and D. Bridges (eds), The Ethics of
educational Research. London: Blackwell Publishing,
pp. 89-110
Spinello, R. (2003). Cyberethics: Morality and Law in
Cyberspace. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett.
Sveningsson, M. (2001) Ethical Aspects of Research in a
Web Chat Community. Paper prepared for the Ethics
Work Group, Association of Internet Researchers.
Trauth, E.M. (1997) Achieving the Research Goal with
Qualitative Methods: Lessons Learned Along the
Way. In A.S. Lee, J. Liebenau and J.I. deGross (eds),
Information Systems and Qualitative Research,
London: Chapman and Hall
Walker, M. (1997) Picking up pieces lives stories and
integrity. In D. Tietjens Meyers (ed), Feminist Rethink
the Self. London: HarperCollins
Westfall, J. (1997) The welfare of the community. In
Issues in Ethics, vol. 8, no. 3