The Internet is growing in popularity as a research site and is often framed as the next frontier in human subjects research. The opportunities the Internet provides for political organizing, making personal experiences more public, and creating spaces for a variety of voices makes
it particularly relevant to feminist geographers and researchers such as ourselves. However, many qualitative researchers approach online research as though the Internet simply archives an abundance of data that is ‘there for the taking.’ Being trained in feminist research methods,
we took issue with this approach, yet also encountered challenges when trying to apply feminist practices and ethical perspectives to online research environments. We explore these challenges through a collaborative reflection on our own independent online research experiences. Three themes
emerge: (1) interpreting politics and visibility in online spaces, (2) researcher positionality across virtual and material study sites, and (3) subjectivity and power in online research ethics. Reflecting on these themes, we argue that the insights of feminist ethics and a feminist geographical
lens are crucial for bringing much-needed reflexivity and reciprocity into online research. Simultaneously, online research opens up exciting new ways of conceptualizing central ideas within feminist research ethics, including politicization, positionality, and power.
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Document Type: Research Article
Graduate School of Geography, Clark University, Worcester, MA, USA
Department of Geography, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Department of Geography & Environment, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada
Publication date: April 21, 2015
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