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.
All sessions are 14.00-16.00

2019-20 sessions

Gathering qualitative data: the ethics of informed consent (09 October 2019)

Informed consent is central to ethical 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 ‘secondhand’ participation (such as when images of others are produced by research participants); deception and covert research; and data sharing.  Participants are invited to bring their own questions and dilemmas to the session for discussion. 

Note: students planning to attend the session ‘Conducting sensitive interviews’ (20 November 2019) are strongly urged to attend this session on Informed consent

Facilitator:

Josie Dixon is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in PSSRU, Department of Health Policy, LSE. As an academic, and in previous policy research roles, Josie has conducted a wide range of sensitive research, including with older people who have been abused, people who have been bereaved, people with dementia and their carers, children about recreational drug use, care home residents, people participating in riots and adults about their sexual behaviour.   

Registration link can be found here

Conducting sensitive interviews (20 November 2019)

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 considerations in conducting such interviews? What are the risks for respondents and how should these be these 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 on 9th October.

Facilitators: 

Josie Dixon is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in PSSRU, Department of Health Policy, LSE. As an academic, and in previous policy research roles, Josie has conducted a wide range of sensitive research, including with older people who have been abused, people who have been bereaved, people with dementia and their carers, children about recreational drug use, care home residents, people participating in riots and adults about their sexual behaviour.   

Jenny Graham is a co-founder of ResearchAbility, a specialist qualitative research consultancy that helps clients in the not for profit sector build research skills. As well as training and mentoring, ResearchAbility carries out research. Jenny previously worked at the National Centre for Social Research, the UK’s largest not-for-profit social research institute. Jenny’s experience in sensitive research includes research with survivors of sexual assaults, victims of criminal offences, young people receiving substance misuse treatment, young people with convictions against them and employees who have experienced bullying, harassment and discrimination.

 Registration link can be found here                     

Ethical dilemmas in research (29 January 2020) 

Joint PhD Academy-New Academic Induction programme event

Giving due consideration to the ethical issues that may arise during the course of a study is an important part of good research design. However, it is not always easy to anticipate issues which might arise as a project unfolds. At this session participants will be presented with case studies of research that has raised a number of ethical challenges. The case studies cover a number of different contexts, including research involving: children, different cultures, sensitive or controversial topics, the use of deception, and research in online environments. Participants will be invited to discuss these, and how the issues might relate to their own research.

The session will be introduced by the Chair of the LSE Research Ethics Committee, Professor David Lewis. The session will also include an overview of the LSE research ethics policy and procedures.

Facilitators: Professor David Lewis and Dr Lyn Grove, with presentations from Dr Shaku Banaji, Dr Mylene Lagarde and Dr Ivor Sokolic
Registration link can be found here

Ethical issues around studying social media and using social media data in research (12 February 2020)

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 

Registration link to follow shortly

Ethical issues in ethnographical research (19 February 2020)

Ethnographic research is profoundly relational. Through everyday interactions researchers participate actively in other people’s lives and often end up establishing long-term relationships with people they meet over the course of their fieldwork. At the same time, researchers may confront situations that challenge their own ethical standards even as they remain committed to research participants.

In this session we will discuss the kinds of ethical dilemmas that confront ethnographic researchers. What kinds of commitments do ethnographers have towards the people they work with? How do ethnographers deal with potential power differentials in the field? How do ethnographers negotiate the limits of the relationships that emerge during fieldwork? 

The session will take the form of a guided discussion of participants’ own research ideas/proposals, so please come prepared to discuss your own projects, experiences and questions.

 

Facilitator: Dr Jan David Hauck, Newton International Fellow, Department of Anthropology

 Gathering qualitative data: the ethics of informed consent (25 March 2020)

Informed consent is central to ethical 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 ‘secondhand’ participation (such as when images of others are produced by research participants); deception and covert research; and data sharing.  Participants are invited to bring their own questions and dilemmas to the session for discussion. 

Note: students planning to attend the session ‘Conducting sensitive interviews’ (13 May 2020) are strongly urged to attend this session on Informed consent

Facilitator:

Josie Dixon is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in PSSRU, Department of Health Policy, LSE. As an academic, and in previous policy research roles, Josie has conducted a wide range of sensitive research, including with older people who have been abused, people who have been bereaved, people with dementia and their carers, children about recreational drug use, care home residents, people participating in riots and adults about their sexual behaviour.

Conducting sensitive interviews (13 May 2020, 2-5pm)

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 considerations in conducting such interviews? What are the risks for respondents and how should these be these 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 on 25th March.

Facilitators: 
Josie Dixon is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in PSSRU, Department of Health Policy, LSE. As an academic, and in previous policy research roles, Josie has conducted a wide range of sensitive research, including with older people who have been abused, people who have been bereaved, people with dementia and their carers, children about recreational drug use, care home residents, people participating in riots and adults about their sexual behaviour.   

Jenny Graham is a co-founder of ResearchAbility, a specialist qualitative research consultancy that helps clients in the not for profit sector build research skills. As well as training and mentoring, ResearchAbility carries out research. Jenny previously worked at the National Centre for Social Research, the UK’s largest not-for-profit social research institute. Jenny’s experience in sensitive research includes research with survivors of sexual assaults, victims of criminal offences, young people receiving substance misuse treatment, young people with convictions against them and employees who have experienced bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Registration link to follow shortly