A Pint of Ethics

A Pint of Ethics ONLINE

“This wasn’t an issue that had been covered in my CUREC application. I wondered whether I was being an ethical researcher”


We have all had moments like that during our research – where unexpected situations make us question the limits of responsible and ethical research. Often, the events that make us question our ethics are relatively innocuous daily occurrences. Examples of these “ethical instances” could include:

  • Being invited to the home of a fieldwork participant for a social event
  • Receiving gifts from fieldwork participants or host institutions
  • Being asked to raise awareness about a political situation in your fieldwork country

While researchers make commitments to protecting their research participants and the data they gather in the CUREC forms, how these daily issues fit into these broad commitments is far from clear. Researchers must often trust their own judgement in navigating these “ethical instances”. This can place unnecessary stress on the researcher, as they wonder whether they have selected the right course of action.
What is needed is an uncritical space in which to discuss “ethical instances” and seek advice from our peers. This space is Pint of Ethics, a fortnightly online meet-up hosted by the Social Sciences division. 
What is A Pint of Ethics, and how can I get involved?
 A Pint of Ethics is an online meet-up run three times a term. Join to discuss “ethical instances”, raise queries and get advice. The events will be chaired by an early career researcher, but discussion is intended to crowdsource experiences and expertise to learn from. All discussions will be conducted under Chatham House rules to protect the privacy of discussants and fieldwork participants. 


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Topics for this term

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Interdisciplinary research is increasingly supported by research institutions and funders. Many advocates for interdisciplinarity highlight how involving multiple disciplines in research can lead to multifaceted research outcomes and accelerate socially-responsive solutions to real-world problems. Nonetheless, working interdisciplinarily can be very challenging, as researchers have to navigate different ways of conducting research, different metrics for evaluation and different vocabularies and styles of reporting. In this session we will discuss some of the challenges of interdisciplinary research and how to maintain respect and equity in interdisciplinary collaborations


Many research projects that involve fieldwork in foreign countries require in-country ethics approval in addition to the Oxford CUREC approval. This can be from host institutions, governmental bodies or other national agencies. The variability of these approval-granting organizations and their specific requirements can pose challenges to researchers. Social science researchers – particularly those working in low/middle-income countries – can experience challenges when dealing with ethics committees whose main area of expertise is in medical research. In this session we will talk about some of the challenges of gaining multiple ethics approvals and try to brainstorm ways to make ethics applications more approachable and transparent.


Authorship is one of the key metrics through which academic productivity is assessed. Moreover, on academic publications the order of the authors is highly significant. Assigning authors and the order of authors is usually a personal discussion within the authorship group, but can sometimes be extremely difficult and fraught with challenges and misconceptions. In this session we will discuss experiences about authorship complications and try to identify best practice ways of making authorship discussions a transparent and productive experience.

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