Due to the current situation, there are some changes to the program: a webinar will be arranged through which the invited keynotes will be giving their presentations. Seminar participants can choose to either participate online or in person at the university (C512, Department of Romance Studies and Classics; NOT Nordenskiöldsalen). An e-invite to the webinar is distributed by e-mail to the registered participants.  


foto: inbj - Mostphotos


As scholars and students from various disciplines of the Humanities (linguists, sociologists, anthropologists, ethnographers, among others) are increasingly analyzing data stemming from the Internet and social media, this expanding research domain does entail serious ethical issues that need to be scrutinized. These range from both the recompilation of data from Internet (e.g. Twitter and Facebook posts, Instagram photos, fora, etc.), as well as its treatment, analysis and documentation.

While Internet data offers researchers vast quantities of “public” information with easy access and gathering, the excavation of such publications or posts forces us to recognize that issues such as informed consent need to be debated in order to raise awareness of ethical dilemmas.

With keynote lectures by Professor Annette Markham (Aarhus University) and Associate Professor Ylva Hård af Segerstad (University of Gothenburg), the aims of the workshop are to discuss the following issues:

  • To account for and discuss the ethical dilemmas encountered by researchers who focus on Internet and Social Media data;
  • To discuss the interplay and potential discrepancies between Swedish legislation on research ethics and what is considered good research practice in relation to the analysis of data from the Internet and Social Media;
  • To bring together researchers working on data from the Internet and Social Media in order to facilitate an exchange and awareness of ethical research practices when dealing with data from the Internet and Social Media.

In addition, case studies will be discussed in a panel session led by Jonas Åkerman (Research Support Office) with Annette Markham, Ylva Hård af Segerstad and Björn Gustavsson (Data Protection Officer at Stockholm University).

This workshop is organized by Matti Marttinen Larsson (Department of Romance Studies and Classics), Professor Laura Álvarez López (Department of Romance Studies and Classics) and Jonas Åkerman (Research Support Office).



Welcome and introductory presentation by the organizers Matti Marttinen Larsson (SU) and Laura Álvarez López (SU)

13:15-14:15 Keynote presentation by Ylva Hård af Segerstad, University of Gothenburg
14:15-14:45 Break
15:00-16:00 Keynote presentation by Annette Markham, Aarhus University
16:00-17:00 Panel session with Jonas Åkerman (Research Support Office), Annette Markham, Ylva Hård af Segerstad and Björn Gustafsson (Data Protection Officer)


Practical information:

The workshop is free of charge and is aimed at students in the Humanities of all levels and disciplines, as well as researchers at SU and other universities. Please RSVP through the sign up webpage: https://simplesignup.se/private_event/162977/e33a7c830b

Keynote speakers 

Professor Annette Markham (Aarhus University) 

Professor Annette Markham

Going beyond ethical regulations to assess social impact: A model for re-framing the conversation


The GDPR encourages narrow responses to ethical considerations, focusing attention on issues of data protection. While this remains a key concern, inquiry practices contain ethical considerations far beyond the sole issue of data protection and privacy. How do we balance the need for broadly-understood regulatory policies and guidelines for ethical practices in research and the desire to create research trajectories that require risk taking to have actual impact on the world? In the past decade, ethics experts emphasize the importance of inductive, case-specific, bottom up approaches. This wisdom contradicts the top down regulatory tactics that in the interest of avoiding repeating egregious ethical errors, create often ill-fitting templates. So the challenge of ‘doing the right thing’ is still as fraught as ever. In this talk, ethics expert Annette Markham reviews some of these challenges as a product of different perspectives on what the core issue, and therefore, the problem, is. By looking at both the granular level of everyday decision-making in technology design and social research, as well as the future possible impacts of decisions, Annette suggests that communities of practice can build creative and ethical models that are not only sustainable, but flexible and continually evolving. Professor Markham also emphasizes the value of challenging rather than accepting contemporary ethical regulatory models, to help build more proactive, impact-oriented approaches to research design that actually go above and beyond regulatory measures.


Annette Markham is Professor MSO of Information Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark & Affiliate Professor of Digital Ethics in the School of Communication at Loyola University, Chicago. Prof Markham is well known for her work on innovative methodologies and ethics for digital research. She researches identity, relationships, and cultural formations in digitally saturated socio-technical contexts. Annette served from 2004-2014 as chair of the International Association of Internet Researchers’ (AoIR) ethics committee and was primary author of the landmark 2012 guidelines. She now serves as an ethics advisor on many largescale EU projects. To read more about her work, visit annettemarkham.com

Associate Professor Ylva Hård af Segerstad (University of Gothenburg)

Associate Professor Ylva Hård af Segerstad

Case Sensitive: On the Ethical Complexities of Studying Vulnerable Individuals and Closed Communities Online 


Studying vulnerable individuals’ use of closed groups online is tricky for several reasons. In the “post API age”, it is technically harder to collect data, as platform providers diminish access to online materials. Studying vulnerable communities also heightens the demands of ethical responsibility of the researcher and the research process. Most regulatory guidelines and procedures are based on error-avoidance and concept-driven models, which repeatedly fail in contemporary research situations. Studying vulnerable individuals and closed communities online highlights the necessity for case and context sensitive research and for flexibility, adaptivity and mindfulness of the researcher. It also highlights the need to discuss the impact of technical transformations of social media platforms on the future of internet studies, and calls into question theoretical, methodological and ethical developments in studying every-day life practices online. This talk explores methodological, ethical and emotional challenges of studying vulnerable communities online. Based on her on-going work on bereaved parents’ use of social media as resources for coping with the loss of a child, Ylva Hård af Segerstad will discuss the complexities of conducting sensitive research online.


Associate professor Ylva Hård af Segerstad is a researcher at the Department of Applied Information Technology at the University of Gothenburg. She holds a PhD in general linguistics and is Associate Professor in Applied Information Technology. With a background research interest largely focusing on aspects of text-based interaction in digital communication technologies, her current research is focusing on the role and use of mobile communication technologies and social media in an increasingly digitalised society. Hård af Segerstad’s research is underpinned by a keen interest in developing methods for data collection, analysis and visualization as well as ethical aspects of doing research on digital communication technologies.