Past Event details

Designing ethical pedagogic research: tensions, challenges and responsibilities

Friday, 09 October 2020


To help academics and researchers from all disciplines understand the challenges specific to pedagogic research and design ethical pedagogic research studies.


Target audience

Academics, lecturers and researchers in all disciplines who are already working in, or who wish to start working in, the field of pedagogic research.



Pedagogic research, sometimes called the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, explores the nature, purpose, experience, and impact of various approaches to teaching, learning and assessment. It is a valuable way of exploring and understanding your own teaching practice and your students’ learning, and also feeds into to the wider fields of educational research and policy.

This workshop will explore the particular challenges of doing research with (or about, or on) people, and in particular the tensions inherent in doing research with (or about, or on) your own students. It will highlight common ethical issues and challenges that surface in ethics applications, and look at how to resolve or mitigate these in order to successfully obtain ethics clearance for the research. More importantly, it will consider how to protect your research participants, your institution, and yourself as a researcher, and how these principles contribute to sound and successful pedagogic research.



Participants will learn about     

  • the ethics of doing research about people, their experiences, and their feelings
  • ethical issues specific to doing research with students, from inadvertent coercion to personal data leakage
  • strategies for mitigating or addressing these risks and writing successful ethics applications



·        Discussion: What is a research participant (and what do we owe them)? [10 mins]

·        Small group work: World’s most rigorous Research Ethics Board [35 mins]


Intended learning outcomes

Participants will take away

1.      A broad understanding of ethical issues and responsibilities regarding research into people

2.      Awareness of the specific challenges and tensions presented by the power differential between lecturer and student

3.      Familiarity with some of the main ethical issues and risks of pedagogic research, as perceived by Research Ethics Boards

4.      Insights into personal data storage and safety



Emma Coonan is an author and independent researcher with a background in academic, information and digital literacies. Until May 2020 she was a research fellow at Anglia Ruskin University’s Centre for Innovation in Higher Education, conducting individual and collaborative research into design thinking in teaching and learning, pedagogies of inclusion, and research methods and ethics. She is a member of Cambridge University’s Higher Education Research Ethics Committee.


Network: Professional Development Programme
Date(s): Friday, 09 October 2020
Times: 11:00 - 12:30
Location: Online event, link will be provided
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