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Guidelines

Ethics guidelines for internet-mediated research

07 June 2021

Internet-mediated research (IMR) can raise particular, sometimes non-obvious, challenges in adhering to existing ethics principles. In this document we outline some of the key ethics issues which researchers and research ethics committees (RECs) are advised to consider when implementing or evaluating an IMR study.

This document presents guidance on how the Code of Human Research Ethics (BPS, 2021) may be interpreted in the context of Internet-mediated research (IMR) and what special considerations may apply.

It should be considered as supplemental and subordinate to the Society’s Code of Human Research Ethics (2021) and the overarching Code of Ethics and Conduct (BPS, 2018).

The primary function of this document is to help researchers and research ethics committees (RECs) plan and evaluate research proposals, and to help with the process of ethical decision making in the context of specifying and implementing appropriate IMR research designs.

These guidelines were originally prepared by the Working Party on Internet-mediated Research, convened under the aegis of the British Psychological Society’s Research Board in 2014. The guidelines were reviewed in 2017 and again in 2020–2021.

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