The Ethical Researcher Checklist

As the tech industry matures, organizations are incorporating more user research into their product development cycles. And as research practices evolve to fit this demand, product teams face a major ethical challenge: how do they balance collecting enough data to make smart design decisions with protecting users’ safety, autonomy, and privacy? Using examples from my own work, I will discuss the ways in which product teams, in their quest to learn about users’ needs and behaviors, can violate fundamental ethical research principles. I will then provide concrete strategies researchers can use to 1) recognize potential ethical violations in their research plans, 2) minimize the impact of unethical decisions in the field, and 3) promote ethical practices among stakeholders.

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