6.2 Three examples

Digital age social research will involve studies where reasonable, well-meaning people will disagree about ethics.

In order to keep the discussion of research ethics concrete, I’ll start with three examples of digital age studies that have generated ethical controversy. I’ve selected these particular studies for two reasons. First, there are no easy answers about any of them. That is, I think that reasonable, well-meaning people will disagree about whether these studies should have happened and what changes might improve them. This lack of easy answers is characteristic of some studies today, and I expect that it will become more common in the future. Second, these three studies embody many of the principles, frameworks, and areas of tension that will follow later in the chapter.