“Just Chatting”: Research Ethics and Cyberspace

Ellen Whiteman

Abstract


Research conducted through computer-mediated communication is challenging traditional definitions of what is ethical research. In this article the author examines the changing role of assent/consent, confidentiality, and participant observation in qualitative research conducted in cyberspace. She concludes that REBs (research ethic boards) might be becoming more conservative in their decisions at the very moment that Internet research requires more flexibility and broader ethical definitions.

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