Which of the following on-line research strategies raises the most concerns regarding the ethical principle of respecting the autonomy of research subjects and the corresponding federal regulations requiring informed consent?

  • A linguist copies portions of postings on a political blog to document the use of expletives, abbreviations, and the use of irony in the postings.
  • A researcher posts a notice on an open on-line support group for interracial adoptees asking anyone who would be interested in being interviewed for her study to contact her.
  • A researcher observes the communications in an open support group without announcing her presence. She is interested in observing how long members participate and how the membership shifts over time.
  • A researcher proposes to join a moderated support group for cancer survivors posing as a survivor. She plans to insert comments to see how the members respond.

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