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2021 Abstracts

Big Data, Research Ethics, and the Concept of Participants

Presenter: Hannah Mundinger, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Economics
Authors: Hannah Mundinger
Faculty Advisor: Thomas Maloney, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Economics
Institution: University of Utah

The advent of big data is not a mere addition to research but a revolution of research methodology fundamentally altering the concept of participants. Big data necessitates the question, what constitutes a person? And through this one must ask, what constitutes consent? Informed consent forms the foundation of the current dominant ethical theory governing research. This paper seeks to explore if the use of big data in academic research warrants a shift towards a new ethical framework of research through the discussion of personhood, autonomy, consent, paternalism, and the moral and legal responsibilities of researchers.