With great power comes great responsibility: crowdsourcing raises methodological and ethical questions for academia

Isabell Stamm and Lina Eklund at LSE Impact Blog: “Social scientists are expanding the landscape of academic knowledge production by adopting online crowdsourcing techniques used by businesses to design, innovate, and produce. Researchers employ crowdsourcing for a number of tasks, such as taking pictures, writing text, recording stories, or digesting web-based data (tweets, posts, links, etc.). In an increasingly competitive academic climate, crowdsourcing offers researchers a cutting-edge tool for engaging with the public. Yet this socio-technical practice emerged as a business procedure rather than a research method and thus contains many hidden assumptions about the world which concretely affect the knowledge produced. With this comes a problematic reduction of research participants into a single, faceless crowd. This requires a critical assessment of crowdsourcing’s methodological assumptions….(More)”