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"Google Wants to Know Your Location": The Ethical Challenges of Fieldwork in the Digital Age
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3098-5587
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Information communications technologies (ICTs) like laptops, smartphones, and portable storage devices significantly simplify travel, communication, and documentation for social scientists that conduct fieldwork. But despite increasing awareness about the ethical complications associated with using ICTs among journalists and humanitarians, there are few reflections on digital security among social scientists. This article seeks to raise awareness of this important question by outlining three sets of ethical challenges related to digital security that may arise during the course of field research. These ethical challenges relate to (1) informed consent and confidentiality, (2) collecting, transferring, and storing sensitive data, and (3) maintaining the personal security and integrity of the researcher. To help academics reflect on and mitigate these risks, the article underscores the importance of digital risk assessments and develops ten basic guidelines for field research in the digital age.

Keyword [en]
research ethics, fieldwork, digital security, digital data, guidelines
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-325824OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-325824DiVA: diva2:1116873
Note

Currently under review, draft available upon request.

Available from: 2017-06-28 Created: 2017-06-28 Last updated: 2017-06-28

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
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