“Can You Really See What We Write Online?”: Ethics and Privacy in Digital Research with Girls

Ronda Zelezny-Green

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The use of digital technology, particularly cell phones, is growing as a medium
for data collection in social research. However, there remains concern about our
implementing appropriate ethical practice when we are conducting digital research with people, including girls, who are considered vulnerable. In this arti-
cle, I will discuss some of the ethical considerations that emerged during an action research project I undertook with a community of secondary school girls
in Nairobi, Kenya. These considerations are related to privacy in connection
with surveillance as a means of cell phone-based data collection. My aim is to
initiate a scholarly dialogue on creating a framework of ethical practice for digital research with girls—particularly those who are infrequently given a voice in the literature on girlhood studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-87
Number of pages17
JournalGirlhood Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • action research
  • cell phones
  • ethical practice
  • girls' education
  • Kenya
  • mobile learning
  • surveillance

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