Research ethics training

Short description

The purpose of this interactive training is to provide PhD researchers with a general understanding of research ethics, central concepts and challenges, competences for responsible conduct in research, and reference points for further information on research ethics in their specific fields. In addition to a presentation on concepts and principles in research ethics, the session includes discussions of real-world examples of ethical issues across disciplines, such as informed consent of participants, dealing with vulnerable participants, sharing research results in an ethical manner, and data collection and storage. It welcomes the researchers to introduce their own research topics and identify initial issues related to research ethics. Therefore, the researchers are invited to think and prepare a short 1-2 minute outline of their work and reflect on potential ethical issues that might arise.

Target group

The training is mandatory for all first-year PhD researchers. No prior knowledge of research ethics is required.



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. History and rationale of research ethics.
  3. Core issues and principles in methodology and practice.
  4. Defining research and study design.
  5. Voluntary informed consent.
  6. Standards of care and obligations to participants and communities.
  7. Data management, privacy and confidentiality.
  8. Professional ethics and integrity.          
  9. Reading and discussing case-studies in small groups; sharing views and ideas with the whole group.
  10. Introducing research ethics processes at the Hertie School.
  11. Open discussion, further resources, support.


  • Dr. Noora Arajärvi is Associate for Research Ethics and Integrity at the Hertie School. She also works as a postdoctoral research fellow in the ERC-funded project "Cultural Expertise in Europe: What is it useful for?" (Université Paris-Sorbonne). 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 Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. 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 (Routledge, 2014) and a co-editor of The Theory, Practice and Interpretation of Customary International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2022).