- Introduction: Communication in the Networked Age
- Networks and Information Flow: The Second Golden Age
- Rebooting Mass Communication: Using Computational and Network Tools to Rebuild Media Theory
- Propagation Phenomena in Social Media
- Dynamical Processes in Time-Varying Networks
- Partition-Specific Network Analysis of Digital Trace Data: Research Questions and Tools
- How Can Computational Social Science Motivate the Development of Theories, Data, and Methods to Advance Our Understanding of Communication and Organizational Dynamics?
- The New Dynamics of Organizational Change
- Online Communication by Emergency Responders during Crisis Events
- Studying Populations of Online Communities
- Gender and Networks in Virtual Worlds
- Understanding Social Dynamics Online: Social Networks, Social Capital, and Social Interactions
- The Analysis of Social Capital in Digital Environments: A Social Investment Approach
- Multiplying the Medium: Tie Strength, Social Role, and Mobile Media Multiplexity
- Revolutionizing Mental Health with Social Media
- The Neuroscience of Information Sharing
- Modeling and Measuring Deliberation Online
- Political Communication Research in a Networked World
- Moving Beyond Sentiment Analysis: Social Media and Emotions in Political Communication
- Dynamics of Attention and Public Opinion in Social Media
- A Satisficing Search Model of Text Production
- Studying Networked Communication in the Middle East: Social Disrupter and Social Observatory
- Mobile Space and Agility as the Subversive Partner
- One Foot on the Streets, One Foot on the Web: Analyzing the Ecosystem of Protest Movements in an Era of Pervasive Digital Communication
- Our Stage, Our Streets: Brooklyn Drag and the Queer Imaginary
- Digital Mapping of Urban Mobility Patterns
- Research on Mobile Phone Data in the Global South: Opportunities and Challenges
- The Ethics of Digital Research
- Digital Trace Data and Social Research: A Proactive Research Ethics
- A Practitioner’s Guide to Ethical Web Data Collection
- Responsible Research on Social Networks: Dilemmas and Solutions
- Unintended Consequences of Using Digital Methods in Difficult Research Environments
- Ethical Issues in Internet Research: The Case of China
- Conclusion: The Past and Future of Communication Research
Abstract and Keywords
Digital and mobile technologies keep users from being lost, bored, or disconnected; they also collect unprecedented amounts of data about user behavior. These digital traces are being analyzed to enable companies to sell more and governments to identify terrorist or criminal activities. Academic social scientists are just beginning to imagine and test how these data can be used to further understanding of contemporary social life. Researchers are beginning to incorporate trace data into their studies. This chapter provides a discussion of the ethical issues particular to designing such methods, such as understanding the role of corporate data providers. It covers quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method approaches. Methods innovators must consider the ethical norms they are creating, not just the legal and ethical protocols imposed upon them. It is also essential that academic work using digital traces continue and flourish apace with the society it intends to understand and illuminate.
Ericka Menchen-Trevino, Ph.D., American University, Washington D.C.
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