Confidentiality and anonymity of participants
Is Version Of
Communication research is evolving and changing in a world of online journals, open-access, and new ways of obtaining data and conducting experiments via the Internet. Although there are generic encyclopedias describing basic social science research methodologies in general, until now there has been no comprehensive A-to-Z reference work exploring methods specific to communication and media studies. Our entries, authored by key figures in the field, focus on special considerations when applied specifically to communication research, accompanied by engaging examples from the literature of communication, journalism, and media studies. Entries cover every step of the research process, from the creative development of research topics and questions to literature reviews, selection of best methods (whether quantitative, qualitative, or mixed) for analyzing research results and publishing research findings, whether in traditional media or via new media outlets. In addition to expected entries covering the basics of theories and methods traditionally used in communication research, other entries discuss important trends influencing the future of that research, including contemporary practical issues students will face in communication professions, the influences of globalization on research, use of new recording technologies in fieldwork, and the challenges and opportunities related to studying online multi-media environments. Email, texting, cellphone video, and blogging are shown not only as topics of research but also as means of collecting and analyzing data. Still other entries delve into considerations of accountability, copyright, confidentiality, data ownership and security, privacy, and other aspects of conducting an ethical research program.
This book chapter is published as Coffelt, T. A. (2017). Confidentiality and anonymity of participants. In M. Allen (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. doi:10.4135/9781483381411.n86. Posted with permission.