According to the American Psychological Association there are five general principles that need to be followed to be accepted by ethical standards. In order to carry out a research these five principles such be taken in to consideration. So when asking whether it is ethically alight to use internet sources as a means for collecting data for qualitative studies the five principles should be taken in to consideration.  But first what is a qualitative studied? A qualitative study observes the behaviour of individuals takes questionnaires and case studies by its means of collecting data and puts it into words not numbers. Therefore using internet sources would be a great insight into understand and interpreting the minds of teenagers and gamblers. But should it be used? I think not. Not when it does not take in consideration the ethical principles. If the answer is yes then wouldn’t it be like deception in quantitative studies? This is going to look at the five ethical principles and relate to examples of internet sources and why it is not right it use it.

The first ethical principle we are going to look at is the Beneficence and Nonmaleficence. This is where participant’s rights are taken in to consideration and therefore their health and wellbeing is considered. So for example if individual wrote a blog that was personal to them about certain beliefs they may have and a researcher wanted to conduct a study on the beliefs of animal research or animal fur being used for fashion purpose, then they have not taken the right of the individual in to consideration. If there is no way to asking the individual to use their information then they are violating individual privacy. Also it could be suggested that a form of deception is being used.

The next principle that needs to be considered is the fidelity and responsibility; this is where researchers must form a responsible relationship with the participant or whomever the research is conducted from. So would it be ethical just to email the blog writer and ask permission. Is this a professional relationship to form?

A third principle that needs to look at is the integrity where one of the main attributes for this principle is honestly in the science formed. Therefore conducting information without forming consent and looking at the research before and not after is this real scientific honesty? Another issue with this is that the data or text provided may be false and this is affecting the honest of science findings.

The forth principle is known as justice, again this must mean that there is justice in what is published so therefore the individual may not want their personal thoughts and feelings in a study. The final principle is the respect for people’s rights, this again fits in with the idea of the forth principle.

To conclude it would be ethically wrong not to take any of these principles in to consideration when using internet sources for data. Otherwise it may be deemed ethically inconsiderate.

http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx?item=3

http://www.qsrinternational.com/what-is-qualitative-research.aspx

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