Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the significance of taking different approaches to ethical decision-making
  • Compare and contrast well-established approaches to ethical decision-making: consequentialist, virtue ethics, the 'Golden Rule' and empathic approaches to ethical decision-making
  • Discuss the significance and implications of your approach to ethical decision-making.

Using the module

Welcome to Becoming an Ethical Researcher. This course explores the ethical challenges faced by researchers during their Master's degree and/or Ph.D. It will help you reflect on your ethical approach in a research context through contemporary case studies and multidisciplinary scenarios.

This module is designed to introduce you to well-known ethical decision-making approaches that will help you reflect on your own assumptions and behaviour.

If this is the first time you have accessed the Becoming an Ethical Researcher course, or if you need a brief reminder, here is some information on how the screens are organised, and some of the tools and features that are used throughout:


Content

  • The centre of each screen contains the core content for each course, presented either as text, interactive activities, graphics, videos or animations
  • Text highlighted in a box preceded by an arrow contains instructions on how to navigate the activities that follow
  • Terms highlighted like this are clickable glossary terms, and can be clicked on to access pop-up boxes containing definitions of key terms
  • Note that your responses to the note-making and text entry activities (where you type responses in the space provided) can be printed and used as part of your ongoing work
  • At the top of each screen you will see an indication of the approximate time it will take to complete the core content. These estimates include time to watch videos and complete activities in the central section, but not to complete the 'Optional activities'.

Poll questions

The poll questions are designed to help you think about your own situation and attitudes, and to compare your responses to those of others taking the program. Consider talking to an academic advisor about your responses.


Pods

Throughout this course, you will see additional learning opportunities in 'pods'. Exploring the information provided in the pods will enrich the learning experience.

  • Learn more: Contains extra content to expand or emphasise key points from the main screen and houses links to useful external resources.
  • Download: Contains the glossary for the entire course.

Quiz

At the very end of each module, you have the opportunity to test your learning further with a multiple-choice quiz. This consists of five questions and can be taken more than once (a new set of questions will appear).

The Becoming an Ethical Researcher course is designed to gradually build up your understanding and skills. We recommend that you complete the modules in the order given, but they have been designed so you can access each of them independently according to your own requirements and those of your institution.

Expert panel

Authors

Professor Doris Schroeder

Professor Doris Schroeder

Professor Doris Schroeder was educated in Germany and the UK at postgraduate level in economics / management and philosophy / politics. Her first career was as a budget planner for Time Warner. She is Professor of Moral Philosophy and Director at the Centre for Professional Ethics in Preston, UK, and Professor in the School of Law at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Cyprus. Previous employers include the University of Melbourne (Professorial Fellow) and the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Her specialist expertise is in global ethics, research ethics, international justice and responsible research and innovation. She has given invited presentations about her research in 27 countries and on all continents.


Dr. Kate Chatfield

Dr. Kate Chatfield

Dr. Kate Chatfield is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Professional Ethics at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). With a background in philosophy, holistic healthcare and bioethics, she has worked and published on a broad spectrum of ethical matters, including ethics dumping, research collaborations in low- and middle-income countries, animal experimentation, traditional medicines, environmental ethics, responsible research and innovation, and challenges for research ethics committees.

Kate was at the forefront of developments in online education at UCLan; she has developed and delivered a range of e-learning modules at postgraduate level including critical thinking, research methods and research ethics.


Adapting author

Dr. David Hunter

Dr. David Hunter

David Hunter is an Associate Professor of Medical Ethics at Flinders University. His background is in philosophy with a focus on the intersection of political philosophy and applied ethics. He was the editor of the journal Research Ethics for seven years and has served as the joint Editor-in-Chief of the Springer Research Ethics Forum book series for eight years so far. David has 19 years of experience sitting on and chairing research ethics committees. He is the Chair of the Flinders University Social and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee, and was previously a member of the South Adelaide Clinical Human Research Ethics Committee. He sat on eleven Research Ethics Committees in four different countries since 2001. He was a member of the Council of the Association for Research Ethics Committees (AREC) in the UK for three years and a founding member of the Association of Research Ethics Committees University Research Ethics Committee Subcommittee which he served on for six years. He is currently a member of the Steering Committee for the Australasian Ethics Network.


Lead advisors

Professor Fiona Denney

Professor Fiona Denney

Professor Fiona Denney is the Director of the Brunel Educational Excellence Centre, Brunel University London, which supports learning and teaching enhancement for both staff and students. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the UK Council for Graduate Education, a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Fiona has a Ph.D. in marketing and has held academic posts in marketing and management studies. Since 2003, Fiona has worked in academic staff development and has research interests in academic leadership.


Dr. Douglas Halliday

Dr. Douglas Halliday

Dr. Douglas Halliday is a Co-Director of Durham Energy Institute and the Director of the Multidisciplinary Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy which trains doctoral candidates across science and social sciences. The Energy CDT provides a multidisciplinary training environment helping doctoral candidates to understand the breadth and complexity of the whole energy system. He helped organise the 2017 UK Council for Graduate Education International Conference on Developments in Doctoral Education and Training. Previously, he was Dean of Durham's Graduate School from 2005–2010 and a recipient of a 2009 THE Award for Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Higher Education Academy and the Energy Institute.


Reviewers

Professor Reuben Bolt

Professor Reuben Bolt

Associate Professor Reuben Bolt is the Director of the Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, Australia. He leads the Nura Gili Management Team and strategic direction of the organisation and is a descendant of the Yuin/Wandandian and Ngarigo peoples. He has four degrees, including an MBA and Ph.D., and was the first person of Aboriginal heritage to graduate with a Ph.D. at the Faculty of Health Sciences (The University of Sydney). He has many years of teaching experience across NSW Universities, and has held several leadership roles at UNSW. His area of research interest focuses on identity politics and Indigenous knowledge.


Dr. Jennifer Burr

Dr. Jennifer Burr

Jennifer Burr is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield. She has had a range of experience in research ethics, including ten years on the local NHS research ethics committee, reviewing for the European Commission and providing research ethics support to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Research and Development. Jennifer is the Deputy Chair for the University of Sheffield Research Ethics Committee and has been at the University of Sheffield School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) for 20 years. She teaches medical sociology to medical students and on health-related post-graduate courses.


Dr. Daniel Crean

Dr. Daniel Crean

Dr. Daniel Crean's scientific career began at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Ireland, from which he graduated with a BSc-Hons in the biomedical sciences. He subsequently undertook a Ph.D. at University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland, and subsequent postdocs and fellowship spanning basic biomedical research to translational medicine in the area of inflammatory biology. Daniel's teaching responsibilities are in the veterinary biosciences, where he contributes to numerous modules in the areas of metabolism / inflammation and integrated physiological communication. Lastly, he has a considerable interest in ethics / moral theory and how this is applied to research. He is currently enrolled in a Master's program in ethics.


Dr. Sally Dalton-Brown

Dr. Sally Dalton-Brown

Dr. Sally Dalton-Brown is Dean of Academic Programs at Queen's College and an Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne, managing a tutorial team of 70-plus tutors across various programs. Previously, she held various posts at universities in the UK and Ireland. She researches in the fields of ethics, particularly the ethics of new science and technology and is an annual contributor to the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.


Professor Ann Macaskill

Professor Ann Macaskill

Ann Macaskill is Professor of Health Psychology at Sheffield Hallam University and Head of Research Ethics. She is a Practitioner Health Psychologist, a psychotherapist and principal fellow of the HEA. After a Ph.D. at Aberdeen University, she completed a post-doc at Edinburgh University and then was a researcher at Sheffield University. She moved to Sheffield Hallam to develop a BSc Psychology degree and was Head of Department for ten years, setting up an ethics committee for the course followed by Faculty committees and a University Committee which she now chairs. Ann has worked with several external ethics committees. Her early research was on stress, depression and psychotherapy trial evaluations. Recently she has focused on positive psychology, particularly wellbeing and mental health, examining student and staff wellbeing and its effects on learning and achievement.


Nicole Makoviney

Nicole Makoviney

Nicole Makoviney is Director, Office of Research Ethics, at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. In this role she is responsible for human and animal ethics as well as a number of research compliance areas. She has more than 18 years' experience in Research Management across a wide range of both international and Australian settings, including universities, hospitals, medical research institutes and an NGO. She therefore has a thorough understanding of both national and international higher education and research sectors and their regulatory frameworks, as well as of the challenges of conducting quality research in an ever-changing regulatory environment.


Sara Paradowski

Sara Paradowski has worked in Research Integrity, Ethics and Governance for nearly ten years. She started in the role of Manager, Research Integrity at Deakin in January 2019. She has delivered many seminars over the years on the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, animal ethics and biosafety, with a particular focus on gene technology research, clinical trials as well as human research ethics and how to apply the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (NHMRC, 2007; 2018) to research across many disciplines.


Professor Julian Savulescu

Professor Julian Savulescu

Professor Julian Savulescu has held the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford since 2002. He has degrees in medicine, neuroscience and bioethics. He directs the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics within the Faculty of Philosophy, and leads a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator award on Responsibility and Health Care. He directs the Oxford Martin Programme for Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease at the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. He co-directs the interdisciplinary Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities.

In 2017, he joined the Murdoch Children's Research Institute as Visiting Professorial Fellow in Biomedical Ethics, and Melbourne University as Distinguished International Visiting Professor in Law. He spent 10 years as Editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, the highest-impact journal in the field, and is founding editor of Journal of Practical Ethics, an open-access journal in Practical Ethics.


Accessibility advisor

Wilma Alexander

Wilma Alexander

Wilma Alexander is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with Master's degrees in Human-Computer Interaction, Linguistics and Information Science. She has over 15 years of experience as a manager with the online learning team at the University of Edinburgh, where she specialised in usable and accessible digital practice, tutored on the groundbreaking Master's degree in Digital Education and developed online staff training on accessible e-learning and online tutoring skills. Since retiring from the University at the end of 2015, Wilma has provided consultancy services on all aspects of online learning, with a special focus on accessibility and usability issues.


Contributor: Supplementary resources

Dr. Hazel Partington

Dr. Hazel Partington

Dr. Hazel Partington is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Course Leader of MSc in Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing. With a background in holistic healthcare and qualitative research, she teaches across a broad range of areas, including health and wellbeing, research ethics and governance, research methodologies, leadership and management, sustainability, and education. Hazel is a keen advocate of online learning and inclusivity for distance-learning students. Her doctoral research focused on the transformative potential of online learning.