Who is this web-resource for?

This website provides a range of resources designed to help new social science researchers increase their knowledge and understanding of the processes and practices involved in undertaking ethically sound research.

The discussion, case studies and examples within this website also provide a useful set of resources for those involved in the teaching and training of ethics in social science research.

It is largely designed for researchers working within the UK, but the general principles and many of the resources will be of relevance to all social science researchers.

flip chart about values   Portland Protesters   Books on Ethical issues


The website is built around eight core themes. The Core Issues section> takes the reader through some of the topics that are core to all good ethical social research including anonymity and confidentiality, informed consent and sample consent forms; professional integrity, legitimacy of the data, data security and safety and risk.

Subsequent sections either expand on these core themes in relation to the following topics, or discuss issues specific to that topic:

•   Ethical review processes >

•   Ethical issues in the global context >

•   Ethical and Vulnerability >

•   Ethics and Participatory Research >

•   Ethics and Secondary Data >

•   Ethics and Web-based Research >

•   Ethics of Media and Publication >

Please see also: Advice On How to Use this Resource >

How was it developed?

This web resource was developed from the materials used in an ESRC funded Research Development Initiative on Training Researchers in Ethics and Ethical Practice in Social Science Research.

Over a three year period, the RDI Team hosted a series of twelve three-day workshops at Lancaster University in the UK. Expert speakers were drawn from academia, the statutory, private and third sectors together with participant researchers and representatives from research councils from across the UK. Speakers were invited firstly, to share their knowledge of ethical processes and their experience of ethical practice in the field with workshop participants; and secondly, to contribute their materials to this website.

The RDI team wish to thank all speakers and participants and acknowledge their invaluable contribution to the success of the workshops and the subsequent development of this resource.