[Air-L] by-lines for online data

Monica Barratt tronica at gmail.com
Thu Jul 14 00:11:13 PDT 2011

(I'm coming in late to this conversation - I've just returned from a
holiday with no internet!)

We had this situation in terms of anonymising groups who participated
in my PhD project. While most online groups preferred to remain
anonymous, one wanted to be publicly named and associated with the
research. We were not fully prepared for this situation in terms of
our ethics procedures, so we acknowledged the group's participation
generally rather than specifically associating their identity with
their data (not completely ideal - we are looking to further research
using a partnership model).

We discuss the ethical issues of this situation in our IJIRE paper:

I agree with Jean that people should have the choice, however it
became trickier due to the subject matter (illicit drug use) and
potential legal/criminal/social risks of identification, which I think
was also Rutter and Smith's rationale for not providing the option of
attribution to their research participants.


Monica Barratt

On 4 July 2011 11:11, Jean Burgess <je.burgess at qut.edu.au> wrote:
> For my PhD, I arranged via my Uni's ethical review process to offer
> participants (Flickr users) this option (full attribution, username, or
> anonymity) ahead of time. I didn't see why people I was talking to about
> their public creative practice should be anonymised by default and felt it
> would run counter to the way they saw their practice (i.e. as authors, not
> 'research subjects'). In almost all cases I was right.
> See also this early paper on the topic by Amy Bruckman:
> Bruckman, A. (2001) Studying the amateur artist: a perspective on
> disguising data collected in human subjects research on the Internet.
> Paper presented at Computer Ethics: Philosophical Enquiries (CEPE),
> Lancaster University,
> On 3/07/11 3:37 AM, "Mark D. Johns" <mjohns at luther.edu> wrote:
>>I know there have been instances in which persons observed in online
>>research have not wished to be anonymous, but rather have insisted on
>>having their online writing cited and credited to them as authors. But
>>for the life of me I can't recall a reference in scholarly literature
>>for this phenomenon. Would anyone be willing to provide one? Thanks!
>>Mark D. Johns, Ph.D.
>>Associate Professor, Communication Studies
>>Luther College, Decorah, Iowa USA
>>2011-12 Director, Luther Study Centre
>>23 Haslemere Road
>>Nottingham NG8 5GJ
>>United Kingdom
>>"Get the facts first. You can distort them later."
>>    ---Mark Twain
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