Abstract The aim of the article is to build a bridge between assumptions about publicness and ethics in traditional (mass) media research and similar issues pertaining to research ethics in so-called new media environments. The article starts off with unpacking ‘publicness’ as defined in authoritative ethical guidelines that regulate research on (and through) media. It points to the challenges media convergence–and, particularly, the increasingly multimodal, multiauthored and multimedial content of websites–have brought to perceptions of publicness, as previously understood in mass media research. With reference to language-focused research on multilingual digital writing in such contexts, I critically engage with ethical tensions related to collecting and analysing internet data, on the one hand, and presenting and publishing data extracts from new media contexts, on the other. Drawing on modularity as a key organising principle of web design and discourse, the article proposes a modular and iterative approach to research ethics that takes into account the complex and fluid configuration of web environments and attends to the conditions of multiple authorship and multiple publics that are increasingly typical of such contexts.
Applied Linguistics Review – de Gruyter
Published: May 24, 2017