[Air-l] ethnography and ethics

bakera at ohiou.edu bakera at ohiou.edu
Sat May 8 11:00:07 PDT 2004

Hi, Eero, and all
A long post I made in answer has fallen into the internet ether, so I 
will let elijah's stand in for me to some extent.  I do want to say 
though, I don't agree that our individual attachments to personal 
ethics or the law are quite enough to stand in for guidelines.  As a 
newer member of the aoir ethics committee chaired by Charles Ess, and 
as a presenter of a paper on ethics of researching online community 
and relationships, I applaud the aoir group for putting together a 
pioneering set of guidelines growing from people with allegiances to 
many different disciplines and countries.

I also disagree that posting in a newsgroup is analogous to walking 
down the street.   There is a large grey area between the totally 
public and totally private online which bears examination and 
continued attempts to reach at least a rough agreement on how and 
when to do research there.  Finally, without having professional 
knowledge of the profession, it seems to me that journalists often 
have fewer strictures than researchers, not only because of our 
IRB's, but because of the demand for daily stories and the traditions 
of their profession.  For example, they may be more than satisfied if 
three people back up their information, whereas we may need far more 
than that to support a thesis about everyday life.

andrea baker (andee)

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