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DS 2004: Data Ethics

This library research guide supports the DS 2004: Data Ethics course.

Welcome DS 2004!

This guide will help you discover and evaluate sources. 

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the librarian listed on the page!



Writing support

How to work with different kinds of sources

You have the option of working with a variety of sources for your paper. There is a lot of flexibility available to you for this assignment. That kind of flexibility is great, but it also requires you to evaluate your sources well. Consider these questions as you review possible sources:

  • Who wrote this piece?
  • Why did they write it? Who is the audience?
  • When was it written?
  • Is it relevant for your needs?

Finding academic sources

There are lots of places to look for academic literature. These sources are written by experts in their field. Journal articles are typically peer reviewed. Here are places to get ideas for paper topics or find background resources for the topic you have already chosen.

Encyclopedias and Handbooks

Encyclopedias and handbooks are good for getting background information on a general topic. Here are a couple of encyclopedias and handbooks that specifically focus on technology ethics and privacy.

Academic articles

Academic articles are written by experts in their field and are typically peer reviewed. Google Scholar will get you a wide variety of results from different fields (e.g., engineering, computer science, and philosophy). PhilPapers and Philosopher's Index are two databases that focus specifically on academic articles from philosophy. IEEE Xplore is another database that focuses on engineering and computer science.

Specific Journal Titles and Themed Journal Issues

If you want to browse first to get ideas, it can be helpful to find a journal that focuses on the topic you are interested it. I have seen Technology in Society cited a lot when it comes to data ethics. I also found two "special issues" around the topic of data ethics. A "special issue" is an issue of a journal that focuses the entire issue on a narrow topic. 


Of course, you can also check Virgo for books that UVA Library has about data ethics.

Finding news

News articles will offer the most current coverage of a topic (important for any rapidly changing topic). They are written by journalists. Compared to academic articles, they are more current but typically written by people with less expertise. 

We Count - Resources on AI Ethics and Policy

We Count is an organization that "was created to address bias, discrimination and barriers to participation and employment for persons with disabilities within the field of data science and data-driven systems." We Count provides an excellent platform that aggregates news and policy information about AI Ethics and Policy.

How to see if the library has a paywalled article you found elsewhere:

Go to Enter the name of the newspaper (not news article) title in the E-journals only box. In the results page, look for the newspaper title and match to the correct year, and click on the database link. If we have a matching newspaper title and year, you will be taken to the database that has the content. In the database, copy and paste the first sentence of the article. This method is tedious, but it will get you behind the paywall. If this isn't making sense, ask the librarian listed on this page for help.

Here are our most popular news databases that might have coverage of national and global conversations about data ethics:

Finding policy literature

Reports from think tanks and policy centers are likely to cover data ethics issues. It can be hard to find these reports online if you aren't already aware of the policy centers covering these topics. Using a policy database can help you find these resources. Take note of information about the policy center. Ask yourself, what policies are they promoting? These reports are different from news and academic articles because they are explicitly advocating for a singular point of view. Think tanks and policy centers typically want to see a particular policy be enacted, usually through laws or regulation.

Citing your sources consistently

You'll need to cite your sources consistently for this report. Just be consistent - pick a citation style and use it properly throughout your paper. 

Accessing materials off Grounds

LibKey Nomad is a useful browser extension that will check to see if we have an academic article in our collection. (This doesn't work with news articles.) This is your best bet if you are doing your research off Grounds and you want to access academic articles without a lot of fuss.

Writing for an academic audience

If you are struggling with the writing part of this assignment, you might check out these resources: