|Title||Is It Ethical to Log Users' Actions in Software Engineering Experiments?|
|Publication Type||Proceedings, refereed|
|Year of Publication||2003|
|Conference Name||Informing Science and Information Technology Education Joint Conference|
|Date Published||June 24-27|
|Publisher||The Informing Science Institute, Santa Rosa, CA, USA|
|Place Published||Pori, Finland|
In recent years, there has been a significant increase of empirical studies involving human participants in software engineering. Such studies heightened the need for considering ethical issues. Researchers have not only moral but also pragmatic reasons to treat participants of their studies ethically. They want to maintain their access to the data source and to get funding for their research. Thus the researchers have to be aware of general ethical issues and those that are specific for a particular research practice. This paper briefly describes our experiences with a tool that logs all actions of the users/participants (commands, keystrokes and mouse movements), and collects their comments in a web based screen. The tool was used in two usability studies and raised ethical issues concerning assuring confidentiality and minimization of inconvenience. The paper also discusses some conflicts between ethical standards and assuring validity of the studies that appeared during these studies.