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Unger, Hella von (2016): Reflexivity Beyond Regulations: Teaching Research Ethics and Qualitative Methods in Germany. In: Qualitative inquiry, Vol. 22, No. 2: pp. 87-98 [PDF, 106kB]


Research ethics are an integral part of the research process and are not limited to institutionalized regulatory procedures. While there is no standard formula for ethical reflexivity and practice, the question arises as to how research ethics can be taught as part of a curriculum for qualitative research. The approach taken here is one of learning by doing. Sociology students were trained to pursue a research question and reflect on ethical aspects of their experiences. Their research projects explored the meaning of a trial against a neo-Nazi group in Munich, Germany. In teams, the students conducted qualitative interviews on how members of local communities viewed the trial. The students' questions and learning experiences regarding research ethics are analyzed. Key topics of discussion include informed consent, researcher subjectivity, and the de/merits of ethics codes and guidelines. Recommendations are drawn for teaching research ethics in qualitative methods training in the future.

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