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Ethics Behav. 2003;13(3):211-9.

Ethical issues surrounding human participants research using the Internet.

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  • 1Department of Professional Psychology and Family Therapy, Seton Hall University, 269 Andover-Sparta Road, Newton, NJ 07860, USA.


The Internet appears to offer psychologists doing research unrestricted access to infinite amounts and types of data. However, the ethical issues surrounding the use of data and data collection methods are challenging research review boards at many institutions. This article illuminates some of the obstacles facing researchers who wish to take advantage of the Internet's flexibility. The applications of the APA ethical codes for conducting research on human participants on the Internet are reviewed. The principle of beneficence, as well as privacy and confidentiality, informed consent, deception, and avoiding harm are all illustrated through the use of a hypothetical online study.

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