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Social Media Data and Research Ethics: Challenges and Opportunities

An advanced digital methods workshop from Cambridge Digital Humanities
When Feb 13, 2018
from 01:30 AM to 04:30 AM
Where Room 5, Mill Lane Lecture Rooms
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Guest speakers:

  • Peter Bath, Professor of Health Informatics, University of Sheffield
  • Lindsay Unwin, Secretary to the University Research Ethics Committee, University of Sheffield

The explosive growth in the use of social media since the early 2000s has created rich sources of data for researchers, while also challenging the academic community to develop processes and approaches capable of ensuring academically robust and ethically sound research across a wide range of different disciplines. The academic research community has had to grapple with a number of difficult issues in relation to social media research such as the complex relationship between ‘public’ and ‘private’ information in social media spaces, the business model of social media platforms which monetizes the collection of personal data about users, the fragmented nature of social media information and its personalisation to the perceived interests and needs of the user and the rapid technological changes which increase the risks of re-identification of social media research data.

Our guest speakers at this workshop will introduce the approach taken by the University Research Ethics Committee at the University of Sheffield to developing guidance for researchers on how to deal with these complex questions. The workshop will also include opportunities for small-group discussion on the ethical dilemmas posed by social media research based on both real and fictionalised scenarios.

Read more and book a place online here:              

sed by social media research based on both real and fictionalised scenarios.

About the speakers:

Peter Bath is Professor of Health Informatics and Head of the Information School in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield. He has authored over 220 peer-reviewed publications, including 120 full papers in peer-reviewed journals and his work has been cited over 3800 times (h-index = 35; i10 index = 74). He is Principal Investigator for the EMoTICON-funded Transdisciplinary research project "A Shared Space and a Space for Sharing". Peter is Chair of the University Research Ethics Committee (UREC) having previously been Deputy Chair and Senate representative for the Faculty of Social Sciences. During his time on the UREC he was the academic lead for the development of the University's online research ethics system and worked with colleagues on the development of the University's research ethics policy on Social Media Research.

Lindsay Unwin plays a lead role in the promotion of good research practices across the University of Sheffield through providing support for the UREC and working with staff to maintain research integrity.

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