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Consider Ethics

Ethical considerations are essential but wide ranging factors to keep in mind at the pre-project stage and continuously as the work develops. The below is a high-level entry point into this topic covering both bare minimum institutional requirements, the kinds of questions you might want to ask yourself in developing a project, and a few readings to guide that process. This is by no means an all-inclusive list but should serve as a launch point for getting started.

  • Determine if you need to secure IRB approval—required for those using humans as research subjects (if you’re unsure check the link for a getting started guide)
  • For some high-level basics, start with Kristen Hackett’s GCDI blog post “What to Consider When Planning a Digital Project
  • Review the Association of Internet Researchers “Internet Research: Ethical Guidelines
  • Know when to say “no”–some project ideas just shouldn’t be realized. Reviewing the Feminist Data Manifest-No, and especially their discussion of refusal, is essential whether or not you think you are working with data
  • While some considerations are more generally applicable others are tool/method specific. Working with archives and/or social media? The “Documenting the Now White Paper” and Caswell and Cifor’s “Revisiting an Ethics of Care in Archives: An Introductory Note” are recommended
  • Questions of access/accessibility are likewise imperative at this stage. In considering what this means and how to critically raise questions about what access means for the project you’ll make, Hamraie and Fritsch’s “Crip Technoscience Manifesto” provides a good grounding in complicating notions of “friction,” access, activism, and disability justice (Aimi Hamraie’s discussion of universal design and critical access studies in Building Access is also recommended and freely available via Manifold)–starting to consider what accessible design means for your project and how it might be implemented in your work is a good next step.