Conducting Ethical Research in Virtual Environments

Conducting Ethical Research in Virtual Environments

Lynne D. Roberts (University of Western Australia, Australia), Leigh M. Smith (Curtin University of Technology, Australia) and Clare M. Pollock (Curtin University of Technology, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-955-7.ch090
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Abstract

The rapid growth of the Internet has been accompanied by a growth in the number and types of virtual environments supporting computer-mediated communication. This was soon followed by interest in using these virtual environments for research purposes: the recruitment of research participants, the conduct of research and the study of virtual environments. Early research using virtual environments raised a number of ethical issues and debates. As early as 1996, a forum in the The Information Society (vol. 12, no. 2) was devoted to ethical issues in conducting social science research online. The debate has continued with more recent collaborative attempts to develop guidelines for ethical research online (Ess & Association of Internet Researchers, 2002; Frankel & Siang, 1999).

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