[Air-L] FB groups as method & parental consent

Jayne M. Sellick J.M.Sellick at durham.ac.uk
Thu Jun 30 11:08:42 PDT 2011

Hi Rena,

I'm just starting to connect with online users as part of my participatory project with different groups of disabled people. I spent quite a lot of time deciding how to do this and settled on my own blog in the end. However, with reference to facebook I'm planning on using it, alongside Twitter to gain further interest for the project and get people to the blog, rather than using it as a space to collect and upload content and/or ideas from potential participants. i.e. they could like the page or join the group but then use a different and private online space to get involved. 

I would say that whilst Facebook is a well connected platform (for many non-disabled groups) with a range of tools to use, such as uploading photographs and making comments; it's very difficult to ensure any sort of privacy or anonymity. I think that the latter may be something that parent's (and equally students) could be concerned about as the topic is potentially sensitive and users may wish to be reassured that their input remains confidential. Facebook don't place privacy very highly on their agenda!

It terms of parental consent, you could set up a very simple wordpress blog where parents and students could register their interest and where you could set up a Terms of Use form (a plugin) that outlines the need for parental consent. By registering and agreeing to the terms of use you are asking parents and students to agree with these (in
line with your ethics) and will also have an electronic copy of when they agreed to these terms. 

The online focus group sounds great and I'd love to hear more about it, as and when you get to it. you could also update the (potential) blog with info about/for the online focus groups.

Hope this helps!
Best wishes,

Jayne Sellick

PhD Researcher
Geographies of Disability and Health
Department of Geography
Science Laboratories
Durham University
South Road

Blog: http://www.disidentities.com

Tel: +44 (0) 7757 838 741

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/J_Sellick

Web: www.durham.ac.uk/geography
From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org [air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Rena Bivens [rena.bivens at gmail.com]
Sent: 30 June 2011 18:29
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: [Air-L] FB groups as method & parental consent

Hi All,

I'm writing about two issues:
(1) using Facebook groups as part of a research method
(2) obtaining parental consent

Has anyone on the list used Facebook groups within their methodological
I plan to create a Facebook group for the first stage of a project I am
conducting on social media and gender-based violence - particularly gender
socialization by teenagers on Facebook. The idea is to recruit students from
various high schools across Canada to join the FB group and then engage
participants in discussions while also sharing videos, images and news
articles. Within a couple of months the intention would be to gain informed
consent to 'friend' a number of the participants and preform a digital
ethnography of their profile pages (including info, wall, photos). Online
focus groups would also be incorporated during fieldwork and as a final
stage face-to-face focus groups will take place to validate or reconfigure
preliminary conclusions.

I'm also hoping to get ethical approval to include under-16s (e.g. 13-18
year olds) but I'm trying to be creative as to how I can obtain parental
consent since participants will come from a wide geographical region. Any
ideas apart from a paper letter that would be mailed or faxed would be
greatly appreciated!

Many thanks in advance and feel free to ask for more information.



Pauline Jewett Institute of Women's and Gender Studies

Dunton Tower, Room 1509

1125 Colonel By Drive, Carleton University, Ottawa ON K1S 5B6

Office: (613) 520-2600 ext. 2904

Cell: (613) 618-4602

@renabivens <http://twitter.com/renabivens>


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