Research ethics for Human Science

Each course is designed to be the equivalent of one week of work, including preparation and examination, but the teaching is concentrated to one half day of lectures and seminars per course. Teaching will be in English, but examinations may be written in English or Swedish. Please note that module 1: Introduction is a prerequisite for modules 2–5, and module 3 for module 5.

The whole package is available at least once per academic year, or more often, depending on demand.

Ethical problems involve conflicts of interest. In research ethics such conflicts are usually between, on the one hand, the scientific interest in generating new knowledge, and, on the other hand, different personal and social interests that are affected by the research process or its results. This course gives an overview of ethical conflicts that researchers need to be aware of and be prepared to handle in their work. It introduces some conceptual and theoretical tools from philosophical ethics, for example regarding the valuation of consequences of actions, regarding rights and duties, and ethical comportment. It also gives a short overview of relevant rules and regulations.

Completion of this module is a prerequisite for the following courses.

Autumn 2020: Monday 2020-09-07, 13-17h

Teachers: Håkan Salwén & Liane Colonna

Venue: Gula Villan, MINERVA

Readings: Good Research Practice

Skloot, R (2010). Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. New York: Crown Publ.

Spring 2021: Monday 2021-01-25, 13-17h

Teachers: Håkan Salwén & Cyril Holm

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Questions about scientific misconduct concern situations where researchers are tempted to put their personal, economic or career interest before the interests of science and the scientific community. An important area regards plagiarism and stealing ideas, results or data from other researchers. There are many clear cases of plagiarism, but also borderline cases where conceptual clarity and a reflective attitude concerning good practice is important. These questions are related to a set of issues around publication ethics, which also raises the problem of "self plagiarism." Other kinds of misconduct concern the handling of research data, from fabrication and forgery to misleading presentation of data, and deficient the preservation and accessibility of data to control and further research. The relevant problems are treated in connection with real examples and problematic situations from the participants own experience.

Autumn 2020: Tuesday 2020-09-29, 13-17h

Teachers: William Bülow & Cynthia de Wit

Venue: Zoom

Readings: Goodf Research Practice

Hansson, S-O (2011). “Do we Need a Special Ethics for Research?”. Science and Engineering Ethics 17, pp. 21-29.

Spring 2021: Monday 2021-02-22, 13-17h

Teachers: Håkan Salwén & Cynthia de Wit

Much research in the human sciences involves participants from outside of the scientific community, for example giving information through surveys or interviews, or by taking part as subjects in experiments. Research must be planned and conducted with respect for the safety and personal integrity of such persons. A growing new field which raises these questions is research on the internet and on social media. A key concept in this connection is "consent" and the form in which consent can be sought and given in different contexts. Another related problem complex concerns research on vulnerable or discriminated groups, that may be negatively affected by the research process or its results.

Autumn 2020: Monday 2020-10-19, 13-17h

Teacher: William Bülow

Venue: Zoom

Readings: Goodf Research Practice

Spring 2021: Monday 2021-03-22, 13-17h

Teacher: Greg Bognar

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Ethical considerations in research presuppose that other interests are balanced against the scientific value of the research and its expected results. But what is worth knowing and why? How can one balance the priorities that are made within a scientific discipline against the needs and wishes of society at large? Does the scientific community have a responsibility for the knowledge culture of society as a whole, and does this have any implications for the conduct of individual researchers? Under what circumstances should the researcher take up the role as expert and how should one behave in that role?

Autumn 2020: Monday 2020-11-09, 13-17h

Teacher: Erik Angner

Venue: Zoom


Douglas, Heather. 2016. ”Values in Science,” in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science, ed. by Paul Humphries (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 609–30.

Elliott, Kevin C. 2017. A Tapestry of Values: An Introduction to Values in Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Spring 2021: Monday 2021-04-19, 13-17h

Teacher: Erik Angner

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This course is aimed at practical questions regarding ethical vetting, with direct relevance for the research projects of participants. What projects must be, or should be, formally vetted? How does one write an application and how is it assessed? The course involves teachers with experience from both sides of the process - to apply for and receive approval, and to assess applications. Participants will have the opportunity to work on their own projects: do they need ethical vetting and how should the application be formulated?

Completion of courses 1 and 3 is required for this course.

Autumn 2020: Monday 2020-12-07, 13-17h

Teachers: Petra Lindfors and Erik Angner

Venue: Zoom

Spring 2021: Monday 2021-05-17, 13-17h

Teachers: Petra Lindfors and Erik Angner

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