When is a public space private? Informed consent and online research

  A vital element of the ethical discourse on human subject research is the process of informed consent. This recognizes the autonomy of research subjects by sharing the power of decision making with them. The informed consent process involves three components: relating the information to subjects; ensuring that subjects understand the information; and obtaining the voluntary agreement from subjects to participate. Researchers have the responsibility of determining what information should be divulged to subjects during the consent process.