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Session Overview
Fishbowl-01: Respectful Ethical Decision Making: Positioning the Online Researcher as a Bearer of Moral Consequence
Thursday, 03/Oct/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Jayne C. Lammers
Location: P419
(cap. 100 - fixed seating) NB. 'Forum'

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Respectful Ethical Decision Making: Positioning the Online Researcher as a Bearer of Moral Consequence

Jayne C. Lammers1, Jen Scott Curwood2, Cindy Tekobbe3, Alecia M. Magnifico4, Amy Stornaiuolo5

1University of Rochester, United States of America; 2University of Sydney, Australia; 3University of Alabama, United States of America; 4University of New Hampshire, United States of America; 5University of Pennsylvania, United States of America

AoIR has an ongoing commitment to grappling with the ethical implications and practices of online research as technologies and platforms continue to evolve. In this fishbowl, we seek to shape that work by revisiting Knobel’s (2003) argument for showing respect for the “bearers of moral consequence” (Lankshear & Knobel, 1997) when designing, implementing, and disseminating online research. While Knobel names participants, researchers within the community, graduate students, and consumers of research as “bearers,” she does not explicitly include the researchers conducting the work as being among those implicated in the “ethical/moral stocktake.” In this age of public scholarship that makes researchers more visible and their work more readily disseminated and perhaps misconstrued, especially by online communities that question the trustworthiness of science and research, we find it vital to engage the AoIR community in a critical discussion about how to show respect for the researcher as consequential in ethical decision-making.

After articulating our notions of what it means to be a bearer of moral consequence, our fishbowl conversation will turn to allowing the initial contributors, representing international contexts and cross-disciplinary perspectives, to share their experiences as online researchers. We will then invite others to contribute their experiences and raise questions about this topic. We aim to foster critical conversation that deepens our understanding of trust in online inquiry, particularly how researchers can engage in ethical decision making that fosters the trustworthiness of their scholarship.

Knobel, M. (2003). Rants, ratings, and representation: Ethical issues in researching online social practices. Education, Communication & Information, 3(2), 187-210.

Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (1997). The moral consequences of what we construct through research. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education Annual Conference, Brisbane.

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