Topic outline

  • Welcome to Academic Integrity and Ethics in Practice course!

    In your doctoral study, most of you will complete an actual research project – your doctoral thesis. An important part of competence of any scientist and scholar are their research integrity and knowledge of research ethics. Such concepts may sound a little dry to you. Understanding the rules of good research practice, however, is critical for successful completion of your study and for your future career – not only in academic environment. Many of the skills and attitudes you are going to practice in this course will prepare you for success beyond academia.

    More specifically, you will learn about:

    1) Why is researcher’s integrity so important and what is research ethics

    2) Ethical frameworks and how they help with decision making

    3) Tools to enhance the transparency of your research and to avoid some threads to its quality

    4) Informed consent and protection of human participants in research

    5) Supervision and mentoring in academic environment

    6) Collaborating with others in research teams         

    7) Some ethical challenges in contemporary research environment

  • 1) Integrity and Ethics Introduced

  • 2) Ethical Decision Making

    • You as a student researcher surely want doing what’s right. But there is a problem. How do you make a decision when you’re between two “rights”, and you can’t do both? Ethical dilemmas are often situations when you must make a choice and when you make that choice, something good is lost. That is why ethical dilemmas are difficult for everyone. In this unit, you will learn about some concepts and procedures that help in handling ethical dilemmas in research.

      After going through this unit, you are able to:

      • Identify some pressing ethical issues of contemporary science
      • Name some milestones in development of research ethics concepts and approaches
      • Understand the key ethical frameworks and how they provide a means of thinking about research dilemmas
      • Know the rules for approval of (student) research projects at your university (faculty)

      At the end of this unit, you will take a short quiz to revise your understanding of the concepts presented in this unit.

  • 3) Enhancing the Quality of Research

    • In previous learning units, we discussed problems of contemporary scientific research as reproducibility crisis and loss of public confidence. Sometimes such problems are caused by purposeful misconduct (e.g. data fabrication or falsification). But even when irreproducible or poor-quality research results from negligence, inattention or non-reporting all important information, it still has serious consequences for science and society. To enhance the quality of research, scientific community created guidelines and standards for reviewing previous research, reporting used methods, analyzing data etc. In this learning unit, you will get to know some general and disciplinary standards that might inspire you when writing your master thesis. You will also reflect on your possible bias.

      After going through this unit, you are able to:
      • explain the importance of systematic and transparent research processes,
      • apply some criteria of quality to literature review and empirical research within your master's thesis,
      • understand different types of bias and conflicts of interests a avoid them in your research,
      • write a short subjectivity (reflexivity) statement.
  • 4) Informed consent

    • In the Learning Unit 2, you saw that modern research ethics arose primarily from efforts to protect the rights of research participants. The current concept of research integrity is broader and includes more issues. However, when people are involved, it is still the general rule that the research study should only proceed with participants’ valid informed consent. Do you agree with the previous sentence? Or is it sometimes possible to study people without informing them in advance (covert research)? Must such consent always be in writing? And how to properly conduct research with the participation of children?

      After going through this unit, you are able to:

      After going through this unit, you will be able to:

      • explain the rights of research participants;
      • understand when, from whom and how to gather consent when doing research;
      • recognize the need for parental permission/consent and assent of minor for research with children and adolescents;
      • prepare an informed consent that is appropriate for the master student’s research.
  • 5) Supervision

    • This week we will focus on supervision as a part of academic process. During your master studies you will work under the supervision of your lecturers, you will write an essay or thesis. 

      Supervision is a word you might have known from your daily life. It is used in many different environments and contexts.

      The Cambridge dictionary specifies supervision as: “The act of watching a person or activity and making certain that everything is done correctlysafely, etc.”

      In this unit you will learn about supervision in an academic context and you will get know the supervision framework at your faculty/university better.

      Learning objectives
      • to understand how supervision can be beneficiary for your study progress;

      • what are your responsibilities;

      • what can you expect from the supervisor.

    • The Academic Supervision is a systematic process that guides the student to the best methods in his educational progress under the guidance of faculty staff… 

      “The success of the guiding process relies heavily on numerous elements such as: a qualified supervisor, committed student, and the information upon which the guiding process occurs.” (source:

      In the following presentation, we explain different forms of supervision in academic environment.

  • 6) Collaborating with others

    • In previous learning units, you saw that responsible conduct in research required a number of different skills. One reason for this is that scientific research has become a team sport”.

      Team work, interdisciplinary research or cooperation are highly appreciated in academic work. Students should be able to collaborate with others.

      This unit focuses on team work and communication skills. You can expect hands-on group assignments.

      You will experience what it is like to work with colleagues who may be differently focused than you, are used to different approach to work.

      You will be divided into groups and work together on particular tasks. This will help you to reflect you team work skills. Your goal will be to find the topic of the article/paper in which you could connect your study fields and create its abstract.

      Remember: this is a team work; the goal is to communicate and collaborate effectively so that what you create is really the result of the team work (everybody should contribute). But the division of roles on the team will be up to you.

      In following activities you will find tasks and milestones which will lead you the goal.

  • 7) Challenges in Contemporary Research

    • In last learning unit of our course on research integrity, we will formulate some practical tips to take away into your thesis research and beyond (expect groupwork). But first we consider some ethical challenges and possible traps brought in by the new technological and social reality. New technologies as digital tools and social networks transform science. They can help to solve problems our societies face and make scientific research more open and collaborative. But they also pose the new threats to research integrity. That is why the first part of the learning unit discusses ethical issues related to research on internet, as well as possible traps in Open Access publishing.

      Learning objectives

         After going through this unit, you will:

      • understand some ethical dilemmas in internet-based research (as an example of new research approaches);
      • be aware of risks related to Open Access publishing;
      • know the main reasons why early career researchers deviate from good research practice and how to prevent them;
      • analyze pros and cons of reporting the violation of research integrity you witnessed.