[Air-l] internet research and confidentiality
natpoor at umich.edu
Tue Dec 21 11:26:18 PST 2004
Unless I missed it no one has directly presented bloggers as
journalists -- we don't ask journalists for their approval and get IRB
forms when we do a content analysis on TV shows, news programs, or
written items such as articles in newspapers, magazines, or journals.
So, perhaps blogs aren't the new new media!
(Two things: yes, people have stated that blogs are public, but I mean
something different, and two, I'm thinking outloud, I'm not saying one
should or should not get IRB approval -- this is a sort of
meta-analysis of the ideas as I saw them -- blogs are often presented
as an important adjunct to, or challenge to, journalism, but here were
are clearly treating them differently -- this probably makes some sense
given the often much more personal nature of some blogs, but
nonetheless it is an interesting angle.)
On Dec 21, 2004, at 1:40 PM, Mark D. Johns wrote:
> At 11:48 AM 12/21/2004, you wrote:
>> We had this issue a while ago on this list, and I just want to repeat
>> my view:
>> Blogging, Webpublishing and Usenet posting are demonstrably public
>> activities. Unless you render the concept of "private" so ambigious
>> that it becomes virtually unusable, this is an empirical fact, not a
>> normative statement.
>> Therefore, publishing research on these kinds of communications does
>> not violate any privacy/confidentialty laws. At least that is the
>> case for most countries that guarantee some freedom of speech rights.
>> While I have no idea about the bylaws of specific universities or
>> professional associations, I would strongly caution against
>> regulations that curtail the rights of academics vis-a-vis
>> non-affiliated citizens or even journalists.
>> Of course, some exceptions with respect to vulnerable persons apply,
>> but by and large vulnerable persons do not do blogging.
>> BTW, you are not doing (experimental) research on human subjects, but
>> on communications.
> That is your view, it is a common one, and you are entitled to it.
> However, there are other views that are equally valid. If you read the
> guidelines you would understand that they are simply that, not
> regulations. But, like it or not, some regulations, created not by
> AoIR but by various governments and institutions, do apply. What is
> legal in one jurisdiction is not always legal in another. What is
> legal is not always ethical. And what is legal and ethical is not
> always approved by an IRB. I'm simply pointing out -- as is AoIR in
> adopting the guidelines -- that this is not a simple, "one size fits
> all" issue. Much depends on the researcher, the nature of the
> research, where the institution happens to be located, and the views
> of the individual IRB. The guidelines are intended to help researchers
> like Oriana sort it all out.
> Mark D. Johns, Ph.D.
> Asst. Professor of Communication/Linguistics,
> Luther College, Decorah, Iowa
> "Get the facts first. You can distort them later."
> ---Mark Twain
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Nathaniel Poor, Ph.D.
University of Michigan
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