Researching the “Un-Digital” Amish Community: Methodological and Ethical Reconsiderations for Human Subjects Research

Tabetha Adkins


This article argues that methodologies for studying community literacy must be reexamined in light of advancements in technology and the research community's relationship to those technologies. Based on her ethnographic study of an Amish community in southeast Ohio, the author offers a counterpoint to discussions of literacy and digital tools by showing how differing perspectives on technology led to complications during the data collection process. Furthermore, Adkins argues that methodologies cannot always be dictated by a template or by "best practice" and that researchers and IRBs should be more flexible in their thinking about how to treat research communities ethically.

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