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Silences of ethical practice: dilemmas for researchers using social media
journal contributionposted on 2013-06-28, 00:00 authored by M Henderson, N Johnson, Glenn AuldGlenn Auld
Social media, such as social network sites and blogs, are increasingly being used as core or ancillary components of educational research, from recruitment to observation and interaction with researchers. However, this article reveals complex ethical dilemmas surrounding consent, traceability, working with children, and illicit activity that we have faced as education researchers for which there is little specific guidance in the literature. We believe that ethical research committees cannot, and should not, be relied upon as our ethical compass as they also struggle to deal with emerging technologies and their implications. Consequently, we call for researchers to report on the ethical dilemmas in their practice to serve as a guide for those who follow. We also recommend considering research ethics as an ongoing dialogical process in which the researcher, participants, and ethics committee work together in identifying potential problems as well as finding ways forward.