The ethics of outsourcing online survey research

Peter J Allen, Lynne D Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
1093 Downloads (Pure)


The increasing level of Internet penetration over the last decade has made web surveying a viable option for data collection in academic research. Software tools and services have been developed to facilitate the development and deployment of web surveys. Many academics and research students are outsourcing the design and/or hosting of their web surveys to external service providers, yet ethical issues associated with this use have received limited attention in academic literature. In this article, the authors focus on specific ethical concerns associated with the outsourcing of web surveys with particular reference to external commercial web survey service providers. These include threats to confidentiality and anonymity, the potential for loss of control over decisions about research data, and the reduced credibility of research. Suggested guidelines for academic institutions and researchers in relation to outsourcing aspects of web-based survey research are provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-48
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Technoethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010


  • Anonymity
  • Confidentiality
  • Cyberethics
  • Data Protection
  • Outsourcing Surveys
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Web Survey


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