The ethical challenges of researching primary school children's online activities: a new ethical paradigm for the virtual ethnographer?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This is a theoretical paper which explores common ethical paradigms in researching the educational potential of web-based communication tools. Ethical challenges arise from the interplay between researcher and participant attitudes, and the opportunities and idiosyncrasies of the process of virtual ethnography itself. The risk-averse culture surrounding web-based communication tools within education seems at variance with the willingness and rate of adoption by children of such technologies outside of formal education. And what opportunities offered by the nature of the web-based technologies themselves might be missed in a such a context? It is argued that there is a need for a new ethical awareness amongst educational researchers, where some of the common ethical standpoints within the educational research community are re-evaluated from the perspective of potentially new research methods afforded by web-based technologies. In order for educational research to keep pace, there is a need for a new dynamic educational relativism, as technologies change quickly, and perceptions of them within the wider community continue to shift.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-111
Number of pages11
JournalYearbook of the Institute of History
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

Keywords

  • virtual ethnography
  • online community
  • ethics
  • relativism
  • overt
  • covert
  • Internet
  • e-learning
  • primary education

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