Online Research Ethics: Challenges and Opportunities


09/06/2016 - 10/06/2016

Organised by:

NCRM, University of Southampton


Dr Huw Davies, Oxford Internet Institute and Dr Lisa Sugiura, University of Portsmouth


Entry (no or almost no prior knowledge)


Jacqui Thorp
Training & Capacity Building Co-ordinator
National Centre for Research Methods
University of Southampton
Tel: 023 8059 4069


View in Google Maps  (SO17 1BJ)


Building 39, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, Hants


Are you thinking about researching social media or using digital data but you’re concerned about the ethical implications?

Do you need informed consent to quote someone’s Tweet?

Should you anonymise Twitter handles in publications?

If journalists and bloggers can quote Tweets why can’t journal articles?

Can you talk to people on public forums without every time declaring your agenda?

Can you assume people have read the platform’s terms and conditions?

Why can’t you use publically available data that people have willingly shared?

Can you use hacked data?

Should we worry data can be de-anonymised using other data sources?

Are you worried your ethics committee doesn’t ‘get’ new technology?

Do you feel unsupported?

If any such questions are relevant to you, then this is your course.

This course will address the ethical implications of using digital methods in research. It will help participants to design and implement ethical online research projects. The course will include theoretical and practical workshops that will apply ethical and legal standards to different digital research scenarios.

The course covers:

  • Ethical challenges and opportunities that the various sources of digital data present including for example: social media, blogs, forums, user comments on websites, tracking apps, and so on.
  • Ensuring online studies comply with requisite UK regulations
  • Moving beyond the ethics application form: how to be an ethical researcher throughout the whole of your research.

By the end of the course participants will:

  • Be able to demonstrate their ability to design ethical projects that use digital research methods
  • Understand the ethical challenges associated with digital research
  • Have the confidence overcome these challenges
  • Be aware of the research opportunities digital environments can present

This course would be useful to anyone undertaking online research; however, it will be tailored to meet the standards of research governance offices and institutional ethics committees, and beyond. It would most likely benefit postgraduate and early career researchers, government researchers and researchers new to online research and digital methods, primarily from the disciplines from social sciences and humanities.


The fee per teaching day is:

• £30 per day for UK/EU registered students
• £60 per day for staff at UK/EU academic institutions, UK/EU Research Councils researchers, UK/EU public sector staff and staff at UK/EU registered charity organisations and recognised UK/EU research institutions.
• £220 per day for all other participants.

All fees include event materials, lunch, morning and afternoon tea. They do not include travel and accommodation costs.

Website and registration:


South West


Digital Social Research, Online Data Collection , Big data, Mobile digital data, Online communities, Social media data, Research Ethics , Regulatory and legal aspects , Web Ethics , Internet Ethics

Related publications and presentations:

Digital Social Research
Online Data Collection
Big data
Mobile digital data
Online communities
Social media data

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