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Instructor-led course

Provided by: Social Sciences Research Methods Centre

This course is not scheduled to run.

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Research Ethics (Series 2)


Ethics is becoming an increasingly important issue for all researchers and the aim of these three sessions is to demonstrate the practical value of thinking seriously and systematically about what constitutes ethical conduct in social science research. The sessions will involve some small-group work.

Target audience

This module is designed for MPhil and PhD students as part of the Social Science Research Methods Centre (SSRMC) training programme - a shared platform for providing research students with a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research methods skills that are relevant across the social sciences.

  • Participants are required to locate, download and read the ‘Ethical Code’ or set of ‘Guidelines’ which most apply to their academic discipline. Please bring this Code or set of guidelines to the workshop, along with any critical observations. There are some examples of codes and guidelines below. For a summary, and as a resource, see:
Topics covered
  • What do we mean by ethics?
  • National and international policy frameworks
  • Ethics and risk
  • Ethics across disciplinary boundaries
  • Dealing with ethical dilemmas
  • The processes of applying for ethics approval within the University of Cambridge

To demonstrate the practical value of thinking seriously and systematically about what constitutes ethical conduct in social science research


To allow students to distinguish between values, moral and ethical issues, encourage them to think about problems and dilemmas in conducting research, help them to gain an overview of ethical relationships, enable them to know when to ask for help, and prepare them in terms of defence of possible criticisms of their own research.


Presentations, demonstrations and small group work

  • Israel,M. & Hay, I. (2006) Research Ethics for Social Scientists. London:Sage
  • Haggerty, K.(2004) 'Ethics creep: governing social science research in the name of ethics'. Qualitative Sociology, 27, pp391-414
  • Mertens, D. and Ginsberg, P. (2009) The Handbook of Social Research Ethics. Cal. Thousand Hills: Sage


Student Feedback

All students are expected to give feedback for each module they take...

At the end of each module, students will be sent a link to a very short evaluation form. They will also be able to find this link on the Moodle page for their course. The survey takes a few minutes to fill in, and can even be done on a mobile phone. Students that do not respond to the survey the first time, will receive regular automated reminders until the survey is completed.

Students will not be given certification or proof of attendance for any module for which they have not provided feedback.

  • To gain maximum benefits from the course it is important that students do not see this course in isolation from the other MPhil courses or research training they are taking.
  • Responsibility lies with each student to consider the potential for their own research using methods common in fields of the social sciences that may seem remote. Ideally this task will be facilitated by integration of the SSRMC with discipline-specific courses in their departments and through reading and discussion.

3.5 hours over one session


This course is run twice a year - once in Michaelmas; once in Lent

Events available