A Pint of Ethics

A Pint of Ethics ONLINE

“This wasn’t an issue that had been covered in my CUREC application. I wondered whether I was being an ethical researcher”


We have all had moments like that during our research – where unexpected situations make us question the limits of responsible and ethical research. Often, the events that make us question our ethics are relatively innocuous daily occurrences. Examples of these “ethical instances” could include:

  • Being invited to the home of a fieldwork participant for a social event
  • Receiving gifts from fieldwork participants or host institutions
  • Being asked to raise awareness about a political situation in your fieldwork country

While researchers make commitments to protecting their research participants and the data they gather in the CUREC forms, how these daily issues fit into these broad commitments is far from clear. Researchers must often trust their own judgement in navigating these “ethical instances”. This can place unnecessary stress on the researcher, as they wonder whether they have selected the right course of action.
What is needed is an uncritical space in which to discuss “ethical instances” and seek advice from our peers. This space is Pint of Ethics, a fortnightly online meet-up hosted by the Social Sciences division. 
What is A Pint of Ethics, and how can I get involved?
 A Pint of Ethics is an online meet-up run three times a term. Join to discuss “ethical instances”, raise queries and get advice. The events will be chaired by an early career researcher, but discussion is intended to crowdsource experiences and expertise to learn from. All discussions will be conducted under Chatham House rules to protect the privacy of discussants and fieldwork participants. 



Book week 8, 15/06 - Re-using other peoples’ data and code

Topics for this term

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Digital fieldwork methodologies have made massive advances in the last year. Many of us have adapted our research methods to the pandemic and are rolling out highly effective virtual data collection activities. As lockdowns ease across the world, it is important to reflect on what we have learnt. Are there some projects that should stay digital? Are there some digital methods that are less invasive, time-consuming and onerous for participants? In this session we will be discussion whether we should be trying to “return to normal”, or whether there are fieldwork lessons to be learnt from the COVID pandemic.


As COVID-19 vaccine roll-out progresses, there is an increasing likelihood that at least some forms of fieldwork are going to go back to face-to-face data collection. While many researchers will welcome this, we must recognize that this is not going to be a “return to normal”. Researchers will have to deal with their own concerns about conducting face-to-face research in different settings, and also deal with the concerns of their participants. In this session we discuss these concerns and how best to protect both yourself as a researcher and your participants. 


There is an increasing amount of data being made available online for re-use. Indeed, as researchers, we are encouraged to make use of these data resources. Issues such as value for money, reproducibility and efficiency are often cited as reasons for this re-use. Nonetheless, many researchers are hesitant about re-using data from sources (organizations or individuals) that they do not know personally. These hesitations are not only about properly trusting the data sources, but also concerns about how best to give credit to the original data creators. There is also confusion surrounding open licenses, such as Creative Commons, and how to abide by them in future work. In this session we discuss and concerns around some of the issues surrounding re-use.