Research Ethics for the Social Sciences

MET524 Research Ethics for the Social Sciences

Autumn 2021

  • Topics

    The purpose of the course is to facilitate the development of students' research-ethical competence. The ethical requirements for researchers and research projects are continuously increasing, and ensuring proper research ethics is an integral part of research quality.

    The course will present issues, cases and perspectives on research ethics. The ethical challenges of the research projects of the course participants will be emphasized and students will present and discuss their own projects.

    The course will cover the following topics:

    • What is research ethics?
    • Ethical issues in the social sciences
    • Ethical standards, expectations and institutions in the social sciences
    • Safeguards and measures that can improve the ethical quality of research designs
    • Evaluation the ethical quality of research designs
    • Ethics in the publication process

  • Learning outcome

    Knowledge - The candidate can ...

    • recognize ethical issues and challenges in the various stages of the research process
    • reflect on the nature of ethical issues in research
    • understand and apply the ethical guidelines of the Norwegian National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities 
    • evaluate the ethical quality of research designs and how they can be improved from an ethical point of view
    • identify and manage relevant ethical issues

     Skills - The candidate can ...

    • develop research designs that are ethically justifiable
    • integrate research-ethical concerns in research design
    • carry out research and scholarly research work in line with the ethical standards and expectations of one's field
    • articulate and justify the ethical choices that are embedded in research designs and methodological choices

    General competence - The candidate can ...

    • engage in ethical dialogues about research ethics and research quality
    • participate in debates in the field in international forums
    • ensure that research designs are ethically justifiable

  • Teaching

    The course is taught as a combination of lectures, structured conversations, paper writing and presentation. If necessary because of Corona the course will be given digitalized. 

  • Required prerequisites

    The course does not presuppose prior knowledge about ethics; however, basic ethical perspectives will not be presented in detail. Therefore, it is helpful if students have some rudimentary knowledge about ethical perspectives (e.g. utilitarianism, deontology/duty ethics, virtue ethics).

  • Assessment

    Written, individual term paper and presentation of paper in class (80%) 

    Commentary on the paper presentation of one other student. (20%)

  • Grading Scale


  • Computer tools


  • Literature

    NESH (2016), Guidelines for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences, Humanities, Law and Theology. Oslo:  De nasjonale forskningsetiske komiteene.

    Additional literature TBA.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Offered spring 2021.

Course responsible

Ivar Kolstad, Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law