Research In Today’s Emerging Networks

In today’s rapidly evolving technology, issues surrounding the combination of media convergence must be evaluated. The article entitled “Ethical and legal issues for writing researchers in an age of media convergence” was written by a teacher that began to encounter all these dilemmas within the new frame of our current culture. The author, Heidi A. McKee, shed light on three issues that have become apparent within ethical and legal issues. Part of the issues that are evaluated within this framework are presenting oneself within new technologies, copyright and consent for use of research, and legal issues that can arise.

The reason this article appealed to me was that it touches on the fact that we are all researchers as well as learning from our researching instructors. There is a major shift in technology surrounding social and technological networks. As much as we believe we all have a right to be authors with this new technology, we need to be cognitively aware of the implications we can face as researchers or the interview subject. We need to evaluate the potential issues within research studies and how it can affect each individual.

McKee, Heidi A. (2008). Ethical and Legal Issues for Writing Researchers in an Age of Media Convergence. Computers & Composition (25)1. DOI: 10.1016/j.compcom.2007.09.007

Link to Slide Show:


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I am 30 year old single female that is learning that being an adult is not as much fun as you think as a kid. This life has brought me happiness in the form of a great boyfriend, a new life here in Seattle and a willingness to go back to college to continue growing as a person. I love adventures in traveling that range from scuba and sky diving to motorcycle rides accross states. I enjoy movies, happy hours and sitting in the sun doing nothing. If theres one thing I wont take for granted is opportunity when it presents itself.

Posted on July 13, 2011, in Discussion Leader. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. The legality concept was what I found to be most intriguing. Who is to say what situation is important enough to demand legal pursuit? Is it even worth it? I remember saying that there should be more leniency in the WWW copyright laws because technology moves faster than bureaucracy. It although is very true that if there continues to be more lax laws, proprietorship becomes vague and almost untraceable, which would be horrible for the creators of media.

    I believe there should always be an overcompensation for the laws made and always having a realistic perspective of how people will always find loopholes and compensate their needs before anybody else. Understanding human nature and technological evolution I believe is the key to fair, well-mediated network interaction.

  2. In discussing the ethical concerns of researchers and “researchee” privacy, it always surprises me that people have such a varying degree of expectation for privacy from the real world to what they post to the internet.

    What I mean by this relates to the story where researchers pose as what they are not to gain insights into the inner workings of a group. When the story turned to information gathering via Facebook friending I definitely felt a bit of sympathy towards those whose information was harvested, but ultimately I generally feel that individuals post too much “private” information in a public fashion.

    Consider real life situations: Would these “researchees” have allowed the researcher into their home? Allowed them snoop through their bookshelves? Read personal correspondences?

    I highly doubt these researchers would have been allowed so much freedom to “research.”

    Now consider Facebook. People post all sorts of information about themselves. They carry on conversations about themselves, friends, hobbies, points of interest, etc.

    Yet, they willingly, or perhaps carelessly, “friend” complete strangers. These strangers then have access to this plethora of information. That is unless these individuals have segregated their information by sorting their “friends” into “lists” thus allowing them to set up access control lists – or a way to fine tune their information sharing.

    It then comes down to an issue of how much ignorance and benefit of the doubt do we allow people when they go to the abstract nature of the internet. Often, people are reminded of the dangers of storing personal information in the public domain that is generally the internet. Then we still have these cases where people take what should be their own private “garden”/”backyard”/whatever and invite everything from complete strangers to their family, then wonder why some researcher was able to “steal” their private information.

    In the case of careless friending it seems more a burden on the “researchee” than the researcher. At the same time, there should be some line of how far a researcher can go in their misrepresentation – can they act the part of a random member of an individual’s clique/social circle/etc? Or, can they go as far as pretending to be your aunt? Uncle? Mother?

    People need to remember to place the same safety nets in their online lives as they do in their offline lives. Would you share this information with a stranger in real life? Well, then why are you doing it online?

    Given the many safeguards that social sites tend to put in place, then, it seems to be more frequently the fault of a too open information sharing policy rather than malicious or unethical practices by researchers.

  3. Technology will always appear faster than we can create laws to govern it. There’s simply no way to create a law for something before we know what that something is. That is the beauty of our law system. As new things come up culturally and technologically… we can adjust laws accordingly.

    With technology, we have already seen many new laws created to deal with things going on within our communities. Napster had users sharing music for free. The record companies could have never predicted this to be a problem years prior. Since Napster, there have been new laws and stricter punishments for illegally sharing music. Without this technology being invented… these laws might have never came along.

    Creating these laws is usually financially or morally driven. An artist that creates something wants to be given full credit for their work as well as royalties if someone else makes money off their original work.

    In our group discussion we spoke of someone creating a dance for a song and posting it on youtube to share. That person is showing recognition to the artist and sharing the music with other people publically… but when does that become a problem? I would suggest that once that person that created the video starts getting enough traffic that people will pay that user for advertising… we now have a problem. That person must give royalties to the original creator of the song they are using! That user that created that content… did not create 100% of that content themselves!

  1. Pingback: week 4 – Wednesday (13 July 2011) « COM300: Basic Concepts of New Media

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