Issues in protection of human subjects in internet research.
BACKGROUND: Despite the increasing use of the Internet among nurses, the use of the Internet in nursing research has been rarely discussed and critiqued in terms of issues in protection of human subjects. APPROACH: In this article, issues in protection of human subjects in Internet research are explored by analyzing an Internet study to propose directions for human protection in Internet research. RESULTS: Issues raised through the study include those related to (a) anonymity and confidentiality, (b) security, (c) self-determination and authenticity, (d) full disclosure, and (e) fair treatment. DISCUSSION: Based on discussion of the five issues, development of standardized guidelines, investigator triangulation, and information sharing are proposed as directions for protection of human subjects in Internet research.
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