Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Week 10: CCCC Guidelines for the Ethical Conduct of Research in Composition Studies

This semester, I'm taking a course called Rhetoric in Digital Environments. This past week, we discussed the ethics of conducting research online. I decided to look at one of our field's organizations, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, to see what they had to say about digital research. The guidelines state that the public/private split should be taken into consideration and that "We do not assume, for example, that all digital/online communications are available for research studies simply because they can be accessed" ("CCCC Guidelines"). For instance, I have done research on writing center mission statements which are published on writing center websites. Because these statements are published on public, widely accessed websites, I have no ethical qualms with writing about them or directly quoting from them in my papers. To help understand how research in digital environments is not so straightforward, I think this figure from Heidi McKee and James Porter's article, "The Ethics of Digital Writing Research: A Rhetorical Approach," is useful:

For instance, McKee and Porter place a person talking about experiences with sexual abuse on different sides of the public/private divide based upon where that talk happens: on a blog is more public whereas in a private interview is more private. Nonetheless, this does not mean that directly quoting a blog in which the author discusses their sexual abuse could not be considered an ethical violation.

No comments:

Post a Comment