What are some of the things you are concerned about ethically with using technology to teach or conduct research that we did not talk about? How might you address these? Think deeply.
There are two areas of focus that I noted in this weeks reading, these include confidentiality and anonymity (Ravitch & Carl, 2016). I understand about assuring confidentiality with those participants is a particular study, but I have not thought much about maintaining anonymity. There are aspects related to each of these concepts that are not easy to maintain in a qualitative analysis. I’ll need to expand on each of these concepts individually to expand on my understanding and concerns with handling each one.
Confidentiality in research involves maintaining the “individual’s privacy and entails decisions about how and what data related to participants will be disseminated” (Ravitch & Carl, 2016, p. 362). The issues related with each participant needs to be discussed in full. All aspects of continentality must be developed and become part of the design of the IRB prior to having the discussion with each of the participants. Depending on the subject and content of the qualitative research project, would define the degree and complexity of establishing the level of confidentiality for each participant.
Thinking about all aspects of establishing the confidentiality of the participants in advance is critical for the researcher. This will become helpful to provide a level of confidence to the participant that all or most of the issues have been thought through prior to starting the research project. Being prepared in advance will help establish the parameters of the scope of the research project. The goal is to gain the confidence of each of the participants that full confidentiality will be maintained throughout and at the completion of the research project.
The other issue is how to maintain anonymity of the participant throughout the research project and at its completion. Maintaining anonymity requires “that there will be no way for anyone to identify an individual within a sample of participants because data and resulting reports are aggregated and not individually contextualized or displayed” (Ravitch & Carl, 2016, p. 362). In the design phase of the research project the researcher should have fully established all of the parameters and guidelines to address the confidentiality and anonymity elements related to the participants. Prior to submitting this content to the IRB, the researcher should have other peers or other professionals review the proposed research to see if there are additional components missing or corrections required to improve the proposal. This process will be beneficial prior to having the results of the IRB response, this may reduce the number of revision iterations prior to starting the research project.
A significant concern, related to maintaining the participant’s anonymity, is the impact that social media has on this issue. There are many simple and advanced software tools that can be used to mine and analyze data which can identify some or all of the research participants. Depending on the simplicity or complexity of the research study, the researcher will need to employ varying levels of robustness to assure confidentiality and anonymity are maintained. The digital software advances in data mining and analysis adds another layer of complexity and analysis that the researcher must consider as part of their research goals and objectives.
Ravitch, S., Carl, N., (2016). Qualitative research: Bridging the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.