“Research Ethics in Internet-Enabled Research: Human Subjects Issues and Methodological Myopia”

“The widespread use of the Internet provides new vantage points from which to observe conventional behavior, views of new kinds of behavior, and new tools with which to observe it all. Accompanying these opportunities come two specific concerns about research approaches: how new research methods using the Internet may or may not affect the ethical protections to which human subjects are entitled, and the validity of data collected using the Internet. In some cases, these issues converge: Presuming that research must hold promise of advancing knowledge in order to justify any intrusion on human subjects, Dr. Jeffrey Cohen of the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) former Office for Protection from Research Risks is quoted as saying, “Research that is invalid has no benefit…(a)nd if there’s no benefit at all, any inconvenience to subjects isn’t worth it” (Azar, 2000, p. 51).”

Joseph B. Walther
Department of Communication
Cornell University
336 Kennedy Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4203 US


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