Researcher Development Initiative (RDI), 2005 - 2010

Training Researchers on Ethics and Ethical Practice in Social Science Research

01/12/06 - 30/11/09


The project was designed to meet the need for a more explicit understanding of what constitutes good ethical practice for all social scientists. This need that flows from the growing range and sophistication of social science research, together with the increase in joint working across disciplines.


Activities were structured around four main themes delivered through a series of twelve three-day workshops, supported by a website with information on the training provision. First, ethics as process: meeting the need to train researchers for contributing to more formalised ethical review processes. Introductory and advanced training was provided for those wishing to participate as members of ethical review committees, and those looking to submit their research to ethical review committees. Second, ethics and practice: training focused on ethical dilemmas in the field (in both UK and non-UK settings); safety and risk for field researchers; cultural sensitivities (in western and non-western settings); and working with vulnerable groups. Third, ethics and participation: training was structured around participatory research and regulation; ethics and ethnographic research; informed consent; and anonymity and confidentiality. Fourth, ethics and the media: training focused on widening researchers understanding of ethical issues surrounding research with traditional media (such as the radio, television and written media) and addressed the increasing use of internet based research. Web-based resources were developed from the workshop content,  please see

for further information.


Principal Investigator: Professor Christine Milligan, Lancaster University

Co-Investigators: Professor Hazel Biggs, University of Southampton,

Professor Carole Truman, University of Bolton,

Dr Nayanika Mookherjee, Lancaster University,

Professor David Archard, Lancaster University

Contact Details

Professor Christine Milligan, Lancaster University

Tel: 01524 592128