Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat
Many of us have no objections to being research subjects, but the ethics committee in any college or university will insist that you tell your research subjects that they are research subjects.
Unless you are an undercover journalist, "become involved" does not mean hide your real motives and pretend to be one of the subjects you are studying. That is unethical research protocol and ought to get you kicked out of any respectable post-secondary institution.
It should at least get you a Zer0 on your project.
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic
I received the same PM, just now.
Regarding research ethics, a lot depends on what happens with the research.
If it's really just a class assignment and never goes past the instructor's desk, then the standards of research ethics are slightly less stringent. The student doesn't have to get her research protocol approved by the IRB.
If it's intended for publication, then, yes, nothing short of full IRB approval, formalized consent procedures, and so on, are in order.
There is a gray area, as student projects sometimes end up on YouTube or other online outlets . . . an in-between form of publication.
In any case, yes, I agree, this student needs to be up-front about her intentions and about the nature of the research project. I've PMed her back, telling her so.
Unless this is an "extracurricular activity" (recreational/optional) and not for credit or a grade, then you can probably do whatever the hell you want.
But it annoys folks sometimes when you say one thing in a public post and something different in a private message.
(I have not received a PM from the OP, but it's probably because they think I'm boring. After all, it says so right in my name.)