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Centre for Ethics started a new course about research ethics

The Centre for Ethics, University of Tartu started a new course “Research Ethics” at the Estonian University of Life Sciences in the spring semester of this academic year, in which first- and second-year doctoral students participate.

The course gives an introduction into ethics and morality and gives an overview about the values and principles of action that underlie research integrity; also provide an overview of the guidelines and codes regulating the field, the relationship between research integrity and misconduct, and the ethical aspects of research. Issues related to authorship and the role of the researcher in the scientific community are also discussed.

The course ends with a practical assignment in which doctoral students have to analyse their own research topics. It helps students to recognize the ethical aspects of their research, but also to find possible solutions.

Mari-Liisa Parder, the lecturer in charge of the course and Research Fellow at the Centre for Ethics, said that the interest in participating in the course was high among the students, which is extremely positive. “Nearly 40 students enrolled to the course, and despite the fact that we have everything online, doctoral students have been quite active and attentive in asking questions and analysing the ethical aspects of their research,” Parder said, adding that the doctoral students presenting their work have found interesting and important ethical dilemmas and sought solutions for them.

After completing the course, students are familiar with the principles of research ethics and are able to use regulatory guidelines and codes in their field. In addition, the course has useful examples and prepares doctoral students for work in the world of science: for example, the course teaches good research practices and the prevention of misconduct.

The participants of the course are provided with an overview of the key issues of research integrity: making decisions about the authorship of a scientific publication in multi-author publications, obtaining informed consent, processing data, ensuring the protection of privacy and personal data of the subjects involved in the study, obtaining necessary permissions, consents and ethics committee approvals for research and understanding their meaning. This semester, the course is taught entirely online.

Additional information
Mari-Liisa Parder, Research Fellow at the Centre for Ethics, University of Tartu, mari-liisa.parder [ät] ut.ee