Edinburgh Research Explorer

Ethics and consent in the (sociotechnical) wild

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInto the Wild
Subtitle of host publicationBeyond the Design Research Lab
EditorsAlan Chamberlain, Andy Crabtree
ISBN (Electronic)9783030180201
ISBN (Print)9783030180188
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameInto the Wild: Beyond the Design Research Lab
ISSN (Print)2192-6255
ISSN (Electronic)2192-6263


When we speak of ethics, we refer to the articulation of moral principles intended to promote societal and individual good. Derived of moral philosophy, they describe the codified process by which we determine how and why specific human conduct might be deemed right or wrong, good or bad. This is especially critical in the context of human-subjects research, where ill-considered interventions may otherwise result in harm to participants. Socio-technical studies conducted in naturalistic settings, what HCI terms ‘in the wild’ research, present some tensions with our current approaches to ethical practice. In particular, the ways in which we inform, secure and support participant consent. This chapter explores these emerging tensions and, through the voices of interviewed experts, highlights some of the issues arising around user consent and sociotechnical systems.

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