2012 Webinar: Ethical Internet Research

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This webinar examined existing regulations that pertain to informed consent in the context of research conducted via the internet.

The goal of this webinar was to:

  • Identify specific Internet research settings and conditions for consent
  • Discuss how to apply Common Rule regulatory requirements for informed consent to Internet research
  • Explain regulatory flexibilities applicable to consent in Internet research
  • Address obtaining parental consent and child assent in Internet research involving minors
  • Present sample language for informed consent documents for Internet research regarding data security and confidentiality of research-related information


Elizabeth Buchanan, MLIS, PhD
Elizabeth Buchanan is endowed chair in ethics and director of the Center for Applied Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She has been involved in internet research ethics since the late 1990s, and is the editor of one of the first anthologies in the field, Readings in Virtual Research Ethics (2003). Her expertise lies in the intersections of applied philosophy, research ethics, and internet studies. She is the principal investigator of the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project, the Internet Research Ethics Commons  and was the principal investigator to an earlier NSF funded project that focused on the review practices and procedures of US-based institutional review boards (IRBs) and internet research. Dr. Buchanan was a fellow at the University of Oxford's E-Research Center in 2008-09, and has been a visiting lecturer at Hagenberg University in Austria since 2009, where she teaches on ethics and technology. She is now working on a project studying third party applications and terms of service agreements in relation to IRB review, as well as ethical issues in emergent forms of online research. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics (JERHRE), and serves on the editorial boards of International Review of Information Ethics, and Philosophy and Technology.

Laura M. Odwazny, JD, MA
Laura M. Odwazny is a senior attorney with the office of the general counsel, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Ms. Odwazny’s primary client is the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), which interprets and enforces the HHS regulations that provide protections for human research subjects.  Ms. Odwazny also currently advises the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, the HHS Office on Women’s Health, and the HHS office of global affairs.  Throughout her 11 years with the office of the general counsel, Ms. Odwazny has provided legal advice to various other agencies within HHS, including the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, the Program Support Center Division of FOIA Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, and the Office of Research Integrity. Prior to her employment with HHS, Ms. Odwazny served as a law clerk to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Ms. Odwazny is a graduate of the University of Chicago, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and holds an MA in Bioethics through the History and Philosophy of Science Department at the University of Pittsburgh.

Certificates of Attendance

Certificates of Attendance were made available at the conclusion of the webinar. To access the certificate, you must first complete the online evaluation. Such certificates are useful for obtaining continuing education (CE) credits (not Continuing Medical Education credits) from professional associations. Note that guidelines concerning CE credits may differ, and you should consult the appropriate professional association representative for further guidance.

CE Credit for Certified IRB Professional (CIP®) Recertification
Webinar participants holding the CIP credential who wish to apply credits from this webinar toward CIP recertification may submit the Certificate of Attendance they received upon completing the online evaluation as documentation of their participation. Participation in this 90-minute webinar counts as 1.5 CE credit hours.

For recertification by CE, CIPs must complete 30 documented hours of continuing education. At least 15 of the 30 hours must either carry credits issued by a recognized accrediting body or have received advanced recognition from the Council for Certification of IRB Professionals (CCIP). Credits from PRIM&R webinars have received such advance recognition, and may be counted towards these 15 hours.

Additional information about CIP recertification can be found here.