- Code SOCR8015
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by ANU Centre for Social Research Methods
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Social Research
- Areas of interest Human Sciences, Law
- Academic career PGRD
- Prof Bruce Smyth
- Mode of delivery In Person
Second Semester 2023
See Future Offerings
The ability to conduct rigorous research in applied settings constitutes a set of skills that remain highly sought by government and non-government agencies, industry, and academia more generally. An appreciation of ethical conduct throughout the research process is a fundamental part of research projects.
This course aims to provide students with a solid understanding of the principles and practical aspects of ethical conduct in social science research. It seeks to provide the framework to help social science students critically assess their own ethical behaviour throughout the life span of a project - beyond merely complying with regulatory bodies such as HREC.
The course is in two parts. Part I sets out first principles of ethical behaviour according to the National Statement of Ethical Conduct in Human Research, as developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). A brief overview of (a) ethical approaches; (b) ethical controversies, and (c) processes of research governance and ethical review, and common antagonisms between researchers and HRECs, is also offered. Part II adopts a narrow-and-deep focus by examining ethical considerations to specific types of participants (eg., Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; children and young people, etc)
The course is largely applied in nature (research led problem-based learning), and seeks to complement related research methods courses offered in the Master of Social Research degree, and courses taught in other ANU colleges.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- demonstrate they have a firm grasp on the core principles of ethical behaviour and research integrity in the conduct of social research through the life span of a project;
- identify various forms of risk, and how to best manage these in an ethically responsible manner;
- understand how HREC works, and its responsibilities and legal obligations;
- write an ethics protocol to a high standard (including the provision of all support documents and protocols); and
- critically assess their own ethical conduct and that of their peers.
This course is an excellent springboard into preparation for an MPhil or PhD that involves the collection of personal and sensitive information from participants.
- Short essay critically examining the ethics of a hypothetical project (1000 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3]
- Submission in ARIES play mode of an ethics protocol (3000 words) (40) [LO 4]
- Participation in discussion in the Wattle online forum for the course (10) [LO 1,2]
- Class test - multiple choice and short answers (2 hours) (20) [LO 1,2,3,5]
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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 18 hours of lectures and 18 hours of tutorials; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Israel, M. (2015). Research Ethics and Integrity for Social Scientists: Beyond Regulatory Compliance (2nd ed). London: Sage.
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (2007). National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council.
Some research experience is required.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
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- 6 units
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