Skip to main content

Workshop: (2023-02) Impact of Ubiquitous Digital Technologies & Evolving Societal Norms on Research Ethics*

*This project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) [Award # (FAIN) 2124894]

Researchers in a variety of fields, including the biomedical, behavioral, cognitive, educational, and social sciences, have leveraged digital technologies to recruit human participants, to implement interventions, collect and analyze data, and to disseminate findings, a trend that has been amplified during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The scale at and the manner in which information from emerging digital technology can be collected and analyzed for research differ greatly from traditional in-person laboratory experiments. Artificial intelligence is now commonly embedded within smartphone applications. Algorithms and models continuously evolve with the personal information that people provide through their use of digital technologies. The changing landscape in which personal information is collected, analyzed, and shared and people’s changing perceptions regarding personal information raise questions about the suitability of the prevailing ethical framework for research with human participants.

The goal of this virtual workshop is to stimulate thoughtful discussion on the following fundamental research questions:

  1. How do current ethical, legal/regulatory, or social issues, either in degree or kind, address (or not address) the use of digital technologies in human research?;
  2. How have people’s perceptions on sharing personal information changed with the ubiquitous use of digital technologies, and how will it affect the use of digital technology in human research?
  3. How has the ubiquitous use of algorithms—the use of artificial intelligence—in everyday digital technologies, impacted ethical dimensions of human research?
  4. What is the proper ethical framework for addressing uses of digital technologies when conducting research with human participants with a variety of technology literacy and privacy perceptions?

Who should attend?
The free workshop is designed for a broad audience and will offer an opportunity for researchers and students from a variety of fields including biomedical, behavioral, social, engineering, information and computer sciences, institutional review board (IRB) members and staff, as well as interested members of the public.

The workshop will involve hands-on, active learning opportunities exploring various ethical frameworks for navigating research in the digital age. Familiarity with the Belmont Principles underlying current regulations and policies for research with human subjects is recommended.


11:00 am – Opening Remarks

11:10 am – 2:10 pm Session 1
Chair, Dena Plemmons
11:10 -11:15, Introduction of Session 1 Speakers (5 min)
11:15 – 12:00 Plenary Speaker: Desmond Patton, The Promise and Challenge of Using AI for Gun Violence Prevention (45 min)
12:00 – 12:15 Q&A (15 min)
12:15 – 1:15Panel 1 (60 min)
  • Speaker: Barbara Barry, Ethical issues in AI-enabled Clinical Decision Support Systems
  • Speaker: Joshua August Skorburg, Is AI compatible with Participatory Research?
1:15 – 1:45 Breakout Group Discussion (30 min)
1:45 – 1:55 Break (10 min)
1:55 – 2:10 Session 1 Q&A (15 min)

2:15 pm – 5:15 pm Session II
Moderator, Elisa A Hurley
2:10-2:15: Introduction of Session 2 Speakers (5 min)
2:15 – 3:00 Plenary Speaker, Mary L. Gray, title forthcoming (45 min)
3:00 – 3:15 Q&A (15 min)
3:15 – 3:25 Break (10 min)
3:25 – 4:25 Panel 2 (60 min)
  • Speaker: Jonathan Beever, Ethical Risks of Bad Actors in Digital Policymaking: Potential Impacts on Research
  • Speaker: Jonathan Herington, The Ethical Imperative and Challenges of Working with Diverse Populations in Digital Research
4:25 – 4:55 Breakout Group Discussion (30 min)
4:55 – 5:10 Session 2 Q&A (15 min)
5:10 – 5:15 Closing Remarks

What will I learn?
To discuss issues and challenges related to the expanded use of digital technologies in research.

Continuing Education
Webinar participants holding the Certified IRB Professional (CIP®) credential may apply 6 continuing education credits towards CIP recertification. Learn More »

Access Interval

Access to live content will be available for 90 days after the recording is made available. After 90 days, access to the content will be removed. After access has expired, users can purchase an additional 90 days of access.