Privacy, Ethics, and Institutional Research

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Despite widespread agreement that privacy in the context of education is important, it can be difficult to pin down precisely why and to what extent it is important, and it is challenging to determine how privacy is related to other important values. But that task is crucial. Absent a clear sense of what privacy is, it will be difficult to understand the scope of privacy protections in codes of ethics. Moreover, privacy will inevitably conflict with other values, and understanding the values that underwrite privacy protections is crucial for addressing conflicts between privacy and institutional efficiency, advising efficacy, vendor benefits, and student autonomy. My task in this paper is to seek a better understanding of the concept of privacy in institutional research, canvas a number of important moral values underlying privacy generally (including several that are explicit in the AIR Statement), and examine how those moral values should bear upon institutional research by considering several recent cases.
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Archival date: 2020-07-21
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