Research ethics training

Short description

The purpose of the interactive online training series is to provide researchers (mainly targeting PhD candidates) with general and specific competences for responsible conduct of research and implementation measures in different fields of social sciences. The first session is introductory, and the subsequent sessions focus on selected issues that many researchers may encounter. In addition to presentations of concepts and principles of research ethics, the sessions include discussions of real-world examples of ethical issues across disciplines. The sessions are designed to provide an understanding of research ethics in the main areas of CIVICA’s focus: Societies in Transition and Crises of Earth; Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century; Europe Revisited; and Data Driven Technologies for the Social Sciences.

Sessions, materials & assignments

The training consists of four sessions:

  1. Introduction to research ethics
  2. Core issues in methodology and practice: informed consent and data management
  3. Sharing research results in an ethical manner: authorship, impact and outcomes
  4. Special topics and case studies in researching complex societal challenges

The sessions are independent, but they build on each other in a sequential manner.

The training is based on materials distributed by the instructor and made available on the website. Participants are invited to complete assignments on:

  • ethical issues, challenges, reflections and solutions in one's own research (one page outline)
  • discussion board activity on ethical issues
  • Quizzes associated with each session

Target group

The training is intended for all PhD researchers within the CIVICA network. No prior knowledge of research ethics is required. Participants are expected to attend and participate in all four sessions.



The goal of the training is to help the participants to become more sensitive regarding ethical problems in their own research. They will be able to identify specific problematic fields within their work, analyse them, and discover strategies to deal with these challenges. More precisely, the training aims to provide participants with skills to:

  • Recognise and analyse key research ethical questions, and understand ethical principles guiding research and how they apply to research work
  • Understand guidelines, regulations and ethical review processes, and processes for dealing with research misconduct
  • Formulate ethical research plans and responses to ethical challenges by applying key ethical theories and approaches
  • Recognise ethical issues in different mechanisms of data collection and data management, especially with interviews, surveys and online communities
  • Identify rights and responsibilities of a researcher, supervisor, and institution
  • Understand how ethical decisions and choices, including in communicating and disseminating findings, influence society and research community in social sciences


1. Introduction to research ethics

2. Core Issues in methodology and practice: informed consent and data management

3. Sharing research ethics in an ethical manner: authorship, impact and outcomes 

4. Special topics and case studies in researching complex societal challenges




  • Dr. Noora Arajärvi is Associate for Research Ethics and Integrity at PhD Programmes (Hertie School). Before joining the PhD Programmes, she worked at the Third Party Funding at the Hertie School. Previously, she conducted research as postdoctoral fellow with the Berlin Potsdam Research Group “The International Rule of Law – Rise or Decline?” and served as Associate Rule of Law Officer at the Executive Office of the Secretary-General in the United Nations Secretariat. She has held teaching positions at UCLan Cyprus and the University of the West Indies, and visiting fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg and Fordham University in New York. She received her PhD in International Law from the European University Institute. In addition to several research articles, she is the author of The Changing Nature of Customary International Law: Methods of Interpreting the Concept of Custom in International Criminal Tribunals (Routledge, 2014) and co-editor of The Theory and Philosophy of Customary International Law and its Interpretation (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).