Data & Society > our work > teaching > Supporting Ethics in Data Research

teaching | 09.19.16

Supporting Ethics in Data Research

Emily Keller, Bonnie Tijerina, danah boyd


University campuses provide an ecosystem of support to technical researchers, including computer scientists, as they navigate emerging issues of privacy, ethics, security, and consent in big data research. These support systems have varying levels of coordination and may be implicit or explicit.

As part of the Supporting Ethics in Data Research project at Data & Society, we held workshops with twelve to sixteen student researchers,professors, information technology leaders, repository managers, and research librarians at a handful of universities. The goal was to tease out the individual components of ethical, technical, and legal support that were available or absent on each campus, and to better understand the interactions between different actors as they encounter common ethical quandaries.

Materials: sticky notes, scratch paper, pens, and markers

Case Study of a Technical Researcher: provides a fictional scenario involving a researcher who needs assistance navigating a number of obstacles during her technical research.

Data Clinic Model: facilitates a brainstorming session about the components needed for a drop-in clinic to offer peer and professional support.

Ethics Conversation: asks participants to link words, feelings, and thoughts to the word “ethics,” followed by a discussion.

Read More: For the results of this project, please see the final report, Supporting Ethical Data Research: An Exploratory Study of Emerging Issues in Big Data and Technical Research, which provides detailed findings.

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