What is meant by “Ethics in Computing”?

How do we use a computer to collect, analyse or process data? Data collection was covered in previous posts, such as: Collecting Data and Information – Questionnaires Internet or Intranet surveys Pilot Testing Gathering data appropriately is one aspect of ethics in computing but how we then use that information (via software, applications, packages) is another and is just as […]

Standing Ethics Panel

Consists of number of senior academic staff with research experience. RDI have three independent people not involved with project (not supervisor or tutor on project) review project. Three people appointed by Chair of Research Degrees Committee. One nominated as Chair of Panel – decision notified to student and supervisor. Proposal may rejected by panel who will provide reasons, student can […]

The Approval Process

Final year project considered by due process – including ethics committee reviewing projects ensuring they operate within acceptable boundaries. Student agrees objectives & methodology with supervisor. Then submit Dissertation Approval Form (including ethical evaluation) to module leader. Risk then assessed. Most projects fall into minimal or low risk category – module leader approves outline & advises student and supervisor. If […]

Local Aspects of Ethics

Some things are perfectly acceptable in some countries yet disapproved of, or are illegal, in other countries. Example: internet gambling – need to consider ethic and legal aspects.

Group interviews

One-to-one interviews useful but group meetings can be more productive. Main advantage – collective views used to explain group reactions to new product, interface or application prior to releasing to market.


One of most important ways to obtain information. Important to note: Interviewing is a skill. Interviewers will have varying degrees of ability. Interviewing skills can be learnt & developed. Respondents differ in motivation and knowledge. Interviews differ in complexity. Subjective process, to be effective must involve people who communicate effectively both verbally and non-verbally. Can be categorised as both: Informal […]

Focus groups

One-to-one interviews useful in gaining information but group meetings can be more productive. Main advantage – collective views used to explain group reactions to particular situation/event. Difficulty in ensuring information gathered is not just from smaller, more vocal minority of group which is not representative of whole group. Limitations of focus groups Less control over data produced compared to quantitative […]

Evaluating Software Usability – Think it out loud

“Think it out loud” methodology – user verbalises their through processes. Useful, for example, when user is navigating a complex UI and they have some familiarity with it and are perhaps performing one than more operation at the same time. This HCI (Human-Computer Interface) evaluation process evolved from design based approaches to producing qualitative data as part of observational process. […]

Potential problems gathering information by observation

Practice To be used effectively, observation requires great deal of practice. Observer presence Presence of observer will affect behaviours, therefore disturbances must be minimised. Objectivity Difficult to remain objective – therefore ethical – when asking detailed questions to enhance understanding. Element of chance Chance event occurring may be taken as a regular occurrence if observations not taken over prolonged period […]

Collecting Data and Information – Observation Techniques

Interviews and questionnaires valuable ways to gather information. Both reliant on accuracy & honesty of answers relating to persons behaviour and beliefs which is a weakness with both approaches. Observation is alternative technique. Observe behaviours first-hand and analyse by quantitative or qualitative means. Observation used by everyone. Examples: Consumer comparing prices in retail outlets before buying Social planners monitoring traffic […]