H809 – Ethics in earlier research (A6.3)
Ethics are not an easy, but important issue.
I know it is important to consider ethics, but as more I read as more difficult it seems to get.
Considering my little research project about blogging that I want to conduct, I know that I will have to gain consent from the parents, because my students are mainly under age, and I also want to provide an information sheet, but now I see I would have to inform them as well that I want to use the results for my ‘research’. I also thought about starting a blog to report about my experience, talking about audience, and it seems that requires as well some consent, or? I cannot estimate if there would be any unintended consequences that could result from reporting about the progress of the blogging project and if that could cause any distress or psychological harm?
But how can I guarantee confidentiality and anonymity in a public blog. Sure, my students could all use nicknames, and I will of course advise them not to provide any private and personal information, but is it really necessary that they hide behind a nickname, what about their blogging identity? Well, I am quite unsure regarding this topic. And when it comes to the questions if I have the skills to analyse the results in an appropriate manner, well I try.
Looking back at the Block 1 readings, I am not sure if there are some ethical weaknesses, as we don’t know, it e.g. Hiltz and Meinke asked the students in the two colleges to give their informed consent. Or how Wegerif and Mercer handled ethics with the participating children, especially when videotaping them. Similar Roschelle’s case study; it might be difficult in case studies to maintain full anonymity, as it might be easy for people who know the participants to identify who is being discussed.
Well, like I said ethics are not an easy issue.