Who I Am and Where I Am

Author: joe

Tuesday, 14 December, 2010 - 22:00

I like the regular synopsis Warren Ellis posts every month or so, in which he sums up his working identity in a short blog. I want to do the same, as I'm now planning to formally move my PhD research into the public arena. The academic name for what I'm starting soon is 'data-collection' or 'data-gathering', as though there are data just out there, lying around waiting for a naive researcher to come and stumble over them. However, research is not neutral, it is an intervention. Data are made, not found.

So my working identity is a marker, outlining my research and the ethical approach I promise to stick to. If I am going to make some data, this outline will be the public statement as to how I shall go about it. It is a first draft, needing amendment, and I'll need to make a shorter, bullet version, which I can use as a signature or profile description. I'll also need a longer version explaining in more depth the code of conduct I'll be guaranteeing, and the support or counselling I can arrange or facilitate for anyone who finds themselves affected by my work. And I am also presenting a short paper in the new year in a postgrad conference at BU, in which I'll outline how the priority of ethics over knowledge works epistemologically. I'll post that too, and anyone who needs to check up on me and my academic provenance will be able to do so easily. If you have any comments, suggestions or insults, I'll be very glad to hear them.

My name is Joe Flintham. I am a lecturer and researcher at Bournemouth University. I teach Interactive Media in The Media School, and am working towards a PhD in the School of Health and Social Care. The subject I'm researching is how people who are bereaved use online spaces. I'd like to understand how virtual communities offer support for people who are mourning, and what it means to them to be able to memorialise their loved ones, in words or pictures, in online spaces.
 
I would like to understand more about these online environments by entering them and becoming one of the people who participate in them, in order to learn more about how support for the grieving process can be found online; I'd also like to ask any individuals who are willing to do so, to talk to me in depth about their online lives, so that I can learn more about their experiences and draw on this knowledge for my academic work.
 
I will make every effort not to intrude in an unwelcome way on the grief of any individuals, or abuse the hospitality of any community. I guarantee that I will not quote or appropriate anything that anyone writes or submits to any online space without their express consent. I also understand that individuals or communities may feel my presence interrupts or interferes with the trust and support that their environment provides, and in such cases I promise to withdraw if asked to do so.
 
I hope that the research work I do might contribute to the life of online communities and the support they offer to people who are bereaved, and I undertake to share all of the outcomes of the work with all who contribute to it. My aim is to try to ensure that my work is guided by a duty of care to people who are involved in it and any others whom it touches. As such, my first priority will be an ethical concern for people's well-being, and that concern will then guide the direction of the research.

Categories: research, ethics, conduct, care, epistemology, Warren Ellis,
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