Ethics and culture in tracing social media networks
Paper short abstract:
Doing ethnographic studies on mobility raises several ethical issues about doing research in the context of the participatory culture of social media. Based on an ethical relativist theory, this paper will discuss those considerations that are challenging the moral decision-making researchers.
Paper long abstract:
Based on an ethical relativist theory, this paper will discuss those considerations that are challenging the moral decision-making of cyberfield researchers. Due to the increasing use of social media, new research fields are developing in ethnographic studies around online research methods. More recently, studies at the intersection of science and technology studies and communication studies "have adopted a view of social change that encompasses both the continuous and the discontinuous, the evolutionary and the revolutionary qualities and characteristics of media and information technologies and their effects" (Boczkowski & Lievrouw 2008:965). Doing ethnographic studies on mobility, in particular on transnational movement of marginalized groups, raises several ethical issues about doing research in the context of the participatory culture of social media. Studies on ethical dilemmas refer to the importance 'respondent's privacy' and often emphasise that the respondents have given their 'informed consent' for their participation in the research. In this paper I argue that combining online and offline studies by applying the facilities of specific social media sources also involves cultural values and norms of research participants that might be transgressive or in conflict with normative rules.
Immateriality, mobility and the network (ANTHROMOB)