6.6 Areas of difficulty

The four ethical principles—Respect for Persons, Beneficence, Justice, and Respect for Law and Public Interest—and the two ethical frameworks—consequentialism and deontology—should help you reason about any research ethics problems that you are facing. However, based on the characteristics of digital-age research described earlier in this chapter and based on the ethical debates we have considered so far, I see four areas of particular difficulty: informed consent, understanding and managing informational risk, privacy, and making decisions in the face of uncertainty. In the next sections, I will describe these four issues in more detail and offer advice about how to handle them.