Workshop Proceedings of the 18th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

Workshop: Data for the Wellbeing of Most Vulnerable

DOI: 10.36190/2024.26

Published: 2024-06-01
Computing Vulnerability: Recommendations for Supporting the Emotional Wellbeing of Computational Researchers
Dylan Thomas Doyle

Increasingly, HCI researchers conducting computational analysis of online communities conduct emotionally demanding research. Recently, the broader HCI community has begun to identify the negative impact of emotionally demanding research on qualitative researchers exposed to sensitive content when researching vulnerable populations, and has begun to determine best practices and guidelines to support the wellbeing of those researchers. However, there is a need to provide support for researchers conducting computational research in these areas as well. In this paper, we present an auto-ethnography describing the emotional duress our research team encountered during a computational linguistic analysis of an online community providing suicide bereavement support. Using our own story of the emotional demands we experienced in our work, we identify two illustrative areas of emotional demands computational researchers might encounter when researching vulnerable populations. Using these illustrative examples as a grounding point, we conclude by providing recommendations for ways that research teams conducting emotionally demanding computational research can improve their wellbeing during the research process.