Increasing the ethicality of a project and the usefulness of the data enhances the probability that social good will result from the research a combination of ethical and methodological soundness is therefore crucial. From 19992002 I conducted a qualitative study of womens, mens, and mixed Internet chat room conversations. In this article, I discuss the particular ethical issues that arose, outlining my ethical decisionmaking process within the context of current debates. I also describe the methodological concerns, demonstrating why a synthesized method responsive to the advantages and disadvantages of cyberspace was necessary, and how the data were enhanced by this choice of method and by certaincharacteristics of cyberspace. In discussing the details of my study, my overall goal is to provide an assessment of the social good of the project with a view to increasing the probability of more ethical and useful Internetbased research outcomes more generally.
Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 28, 2005