[Air-L] blogs and confidentiality

maxigas maxigas at anargeek.net
Sat Nov 26 19:39:00 PST 2011

>> For my dissertation on personal health blogs, I will be conducting a
>> visual content analysis of 40-50 blogs. I will then be conducting an online
>> discussion with 10-12 bloggers on a closed site. Their identity will be
>> protected by a username of their choice, but can I use the real URL and
>> name of their blogs (I would tell them that I'm doing this)? I'm of the
>> opinion that I can because they are publicly-available, but one of my more
>> traditional advisers has doubts. Any thoughts?

I find it a bit problematic that you turn to your collegues
or to some committee for the authorisation of the correct
way of the scientific exploitation of your subjects.

The questions you are asking are good, and it is good
practice indeed to turn to your peers in case of doubt,
especially technical or ethical.

However, I believe that the answers to your questions lie
with the people that you study.

They are more authorised and possibly more
knowledgable/experienced (for example about mechanisms of
repression that health bloggers are faced with) to take
decisions about how your research could affect their lives.

I believe that the general rule is to respect and especially
protect your subjects in a contextual way based on your
*and* their best understanding of their particular culture
and its interaction with its wider cultural environment.

ps: I hope my wording is not discouraging, it is 04:37 here,
so I am a bit used up already. :)


The opinions expressed in this email are not mine.

Magic: http://maxigas.hu/maxigas.gpg
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