Topical issues in research ethics

A series of facilitated discussions hosted by the PhD Academy

Attendance is free, but  registration is required. You can register for events using the links below. If you have any questions about these sessions, or suggestions for other topics to be included, contact Lyn Grove.

2021-22 sessions

Gathering qualitative data: the ethics of informed consent
Weds 17 November 2021, 2-4 pm; online

Informed consent is central to the ethical conduct of research, but what does it mean in practice? This session will provide an overview of the general issues associated with informed consent, and the places where it becomes tricky to navigate. It will include a discussion of informed consent in different contexts such as interviews, ethnography, and social media; informed consent with children and vulnerable individuals; the ethics of ‘second-hand’ participation (such as when images of others are produced by research participants); deception and covert research; and data-sharing. The special circumstances of obtaining informed consent in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic are also considered. Participants are invited to bring their own questions and dilemmas to the session for discussion.

Note: This session is foundational for the course next month on ‘conducting sensitive interviews’ and students intending to attend that course, are strongly urged to attend this session on Informed consent

Facilitator: Josie Dixon, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in CPEC, Department of Health Policy, LSE. 

Click here for registration page

Conducting sensitive interviews in the context of the Covid pandemic
Weds 01 December 2021, 2-4pm; online

Sensitive interviews include interviews about emotionally difficult topics or deeply personal issues, interviews with vulnerable populations or research that could have negative consequences for participants. What are the ethical and practical considerations in conducting such interviews? How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected these? What are the risks for respondents and how should these be managed? What will researchers need to consider in order to gain ethical approval for such research? What are the researcher’s responsibilities? What skills and competencies are required in the conduct of such interviews? What issues might arise in practice and what strategies can interviewers employ in the moment? What are the possible impacts for researchers and how can these be addressed? Participants are invited to bring their own research projects and examples, experiences, questions and concerns to the session.

Note: Students attending this session are expected to have a solid understanding of the principles of informed consent and are strongly urged to attend the session on Informed consent scheduled earlier in the term

Facilitators: Josie Dixon is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in CPEC, Department of Health Policy, LSE.              

Gathering qualitative data: the ethics of informed consent 
Weds 9th March 2022, 2-4pm (online)

Informed consent is central to the ethical conduct of research, but what does it mean in practice? This session will provide an overview of the general issues associated with informed consent, and the places where it becomes tricky to navigate. It will include a discussion of informed consent in different contexts such as interviews, ethnography, and social media; informed consent with children and vulnerable individuals; the ethics of ‘second-hand’ participation (such as when images of others are produced by research participants); deception and covert research; and data-sharing. The special circumstances of obtaining informed consent in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic are also considered. Participants are invited to bring their own questions and dilemmas to the session for discussion.

Note: This session is foundational for the course later this month on ‘conducting sensitive interviews’ and students intending to attend that course, are strongly urged to attend this session on Informed consent

Facilitator: Josie Dixon, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in CPEC, Department of Health Policy, LSE. 

 Click here for registration page

Ethical issues around studying social media and using social media data in research
Weds 16 March 2022, 3-5pm, in the PhD Academy

There is enormous potential to harness the power of social media as a researcher, not just to promote your research findings, but as a way to collect new and interesting data. However, the ethical principles around conducting research on social media and using social media data are something that need careful consideration before planning a research project.

In this session we will reflect upon a range of issues and questions that arise when you wish to analyse or use data from social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube. What are the gaps in the data available? That is, who are you excluding when doing social media research? What do concepts such as privacy, confidentiality and informed consent mean in research around social media? Are you allowed to text and data mine from social media? How do you do this? How do you get ethical approval for scraping data from social media? We’ll refer to good practice principles and guides from organisations such as the Association for Internet Researchers (https://aoir.org/ethics/) as well as sharing useful resources to help you get started.

We encourage participants to bring their own research projects and examples, experiences, questions and concerns to the session.

If possible please take a look at the following two publications for discussion:

https://search-proquest-com.gate3.library.lse.ac.uk/docview/861541787?accountid=9630&rfr_id=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-internet-research/

Facilitator: Ellen Helsper, Professor in Digital Inequalities, Department of Media and Communications 

 Click here for registration page

Conducting sensitive interviews
Weds 30th March 2022, 2-4 pm (online)

Sensitive interviews include interviews about emotionally difficult topics or deeply personal issues, interviews with vulnerable populations or research that could have negative consequences for participants. What are the ethical and practical considerations in conducting such interviews? How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected these? What are the risks for respondents and how should these be managed? What will researchers need to consider in order to gain ethical approval for such research? What are the researcher’s responsibilities? What skills and competencies are required in the conduct of such interviews? What issues might arise in practice and what strategies can interviewers employ in the moment? What are the possible impacts for researchers and how can these be addressed? Participants are invited to bring their own research projects and examples, experiences, questions and concerns to the session.

Note: Students attending this session are expected to have a solid understanding of the principles of informed consent and are strongly urged to attend one of the sessions on Informed consent scheduled earlier in the term

Facilitators: Josie Dixon is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in CPEC, Department of Health Policy, LSE. 

Click here for registration page