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Roger Clarke's 'Perspectives and Privacy'

Researcher Perspective(s) and the Role of
Perspective in Privacy-Related Research

Abstract of 21 October 2016

For presentation at Institut für Wirtschaftsinformatik, Universität Leipzig, 21 November 2016

Roger Clarke **

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The notion of researcher perspective is reviewed, and a range of alternative perspectives identified, variously on the economic, the social and the environmental dimensions.

In IS research, the system-sponsor perspective dominates. Single-perspective research is juxtaposed against research that adopts dual perspectives, in order to highlight how moving beyond the conventional, narrow confines increases the value of IS research. Beyond this, multi-perspective research is discussed. Addressing such questions enables the discipline to extend its scope beyond the limitations of business school thinking, so that it can also address vital public policy issues. Examples of research questions are provided, some drawn from published papers, and some devised in order to draw out the distinctions and evaluate their applicability and their benefits.

Single-perspective research, primarily addressing system sponsors' interests, has seriously negative consequences not only for other stakeholders, but even for system sponsors. These problems are especially acute in contexts in which privacy is a factor, such as B2C eCommerce, investigations into how corporations can most cheaply acquire personal data, and the expropriation of personal data from social media.

Implications are drawn for individual researchers, and for the IS discipline. It is concluded that a focus on the question of researcher perspective(s) will both improve research quality and enable the discipline to escape from the narrow confines to which it has long constrained itself.


Clarke R. (2015a) 'Not Only Horses Wear Blinkers: The Missing Perspectives in IS Research' Keynote Presentation, Proc. Austral. Conf. in Infor. Syst. (ACIS 2015), Adelaide, December 2015, PrePrint at

Clarke R. (2015b) 'The IS Discipline and Public Policy' Notes for the Senior Scholars Forum, ICIS 2015, Fort Worth TX, Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, December 2015, at

Clarke R. (2016a) 'An Empirical Assessment of Researcher Perspectives' Proc. Bled eConf., Slovenia, June 2016, PrePrint at

Clarke R. (2016b) 'Personal Data Markets: A Matter of Perspective' Working Paper, Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, September 2016, at

Author Affiliations

Roger Clarke is Principal of Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra. He is also a Visiting Professor in Cyberspace Law & Policy at the University of N.S.W., and a Visiting Professor in the Computer Science at the Australian National University.

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Created: 10 October 2016 - Last Amended: 21 October 2016 by Roger Clarke - Site Last Verified: 15 February 2009
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