Internet research and informed consent: An ethical model for using archived emails
MetadataShow full item record
Watson, M., Jones, D. & Burns, L. (2007-09) Internet research and informed consent: An ethical model for using archived emails, International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, vol. 14, pp. 396-403.
Ethical conduct involving research participants rests on the Belmont principles of autonomy, beneficence and justice. Novel methods present new challenges in safeguarding these principles. The increasing use of data obtained from the internet in health research raises important questions regarding obligations to people posting personal information online. Ethical issues warrant special consideration since guidelines are only beginning to emerge, placing greater onus on the researcher's discretion. This paper presents a model (a synthesis of the work of Eysenbach and Till (2001) and Kraut et al (2004)) to assist in decision-making regarding obtaining or waiving informed consent when using archived emails from websites. For illustrative purposes, the application of the model to a PhD project is described.