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Challenges Presented by Research Methods and Ethics in Cultural Studies – Blurred Boundaries between Public and Private

Tove Ingebjørg Fjell ; University of Bergen, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, Bergen Norway

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 524 Kb

str. 25-45

preuzimanja: 1.045



This article reflects on the use of internet sources and the associated challenges relating to research methods and ethics. It appears that the premise on which dividing lines are drawn between the private and public spheres, between what lies in the public domain and what is published is not the same in internet discussion forums as in real life. Taking part in an online conversation or posting a contribution to a forum may be perceived as a private or semi-private activity, even if we know that anyone may read the posting: the activity takes place in the public sphere, but is an innately private act and is instinctively felt to be so. Furthermore, the page owners recognise this blurred boundary between private and public spheres, which reinforces the view that text can indeed be published without necessarily becoming part of the public domain. Consequently, research academics and students need to reflect in greater depth on the ways in which they introduce themselves, on whether it is at all possible to obtain consent for the use of internet material, and if so – how. They also need to consider de-identifying internet material in the same way they de-identify data obtained from traditional sources.

Ključne riječi

research ethics; qualitative method; consent; de-identification; the world wide web; internet sources

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