Ethics and Digital Media

Digital ethics

Increasingly, some elements of all research will be undertaken online. This might include recruitment of participants, communication, data collection or dissemination. Researchers should not be deterred by ethical challenges but think carefully in advance, during and after research about how to make their research ethically robust.

Ten points to consider: researching ethically online

  • Consider how to get consent from children (and parents/carers, where appropriate) if there is no face to face contact
  • Consider how to use digital media to provide participants with information about the research
  • Explore whether and how young people can be engaged in the research as experts and co-producers
  • Make sure that children are not excluded because they do not have access to technology or are unskilled using certain media
  • Ensure that the methods are inclusive for all children regardless of their needs
  • Consider if, and how, to approach sensitive topics using digital media
  • Put in place mechanisms to ensure young people’s online safety and protection
  • Identify whether children’s online contributions will be anonymous and confidential and any implications which arise
  • Be clear what findings and information will be public and private during and after the research.
  • Identify any ethical implications which arise from using commercial online tools.

Taking us through the ethics

The slideshare below draws on Stata Collective’s experience in using digital media in the Soundlines Project.

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“There are many reasons to use a social platform. The biggest one is to socialise with your friends. Therefore we’ve got to negotiate access if we want to do other things in those spaces.”
Tim Davies, Practical Participation