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Detecting, Preventing, and Responding to “Fraudsters” in Internet Research: Ethics and Tradeoffs

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2021

Extract

Research that recruits and surveys participants online is increasing, but is subject to fraud whereby study respondents — whether eligible or ineligible — participate multiple times. Online Internet research can provide investigators with large sample sizes and is cost efficient. Internet-based research also provides distance between the researchers and participants, allowing the participant to remain confidential and/or anonymous, and thus to respond to questions freely and honestly without worrying about the stigma associated with their answers. However, increasing and recurring instances of fraudulent activity among subjects raise challenges for researchers and Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). The distance from participants, and the potential anonymity and convenience of online research allow for individuals to participate easily more than once, skewing results and the overall quality of the data.

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Copyright © American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics 2015

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