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SOCI401 Qualitative Research Ethics

Aims to make students employing a qualitative methodology familiar with the epistemological and ethical issues they are likely to encounter in a formal ethics review. Explores common ethical dilemmas that routinely confront qualitative researchers in the field.

The paper focuses as much on advanced qualitative research techniques (auto-ethnography, photo voice, narrative analysis, the walking interview) as it does on an introduction to qualitative research ethics. A key question asks if qualitative research is sufficiently unique to require its own code of ethics. The paper traverses established (Zimbardo, Humphreys, Milgram) and recent cases of ethical dilemmas thrown up by social science research.

Paper title Qualitative Research Ethics
Paper code SOCI401
Subject Sociology
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,154.90
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,801.79

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72 300-level SOCI points
Students who have not passed the normal prerequisite may be admitted with approval from the Head of Department.
Teaching staff
Course Co-ordinator: Associate Professor Martin Tolich
Paper Structure
The paper is 100% internally assessed.
Teaching Arrangements
Seminar-based learning.
  1. Tolich, Martin editor (2015). Qualitative Ethics in Practice, Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, CA
  2. Tolich, Martin and Barry Smith (2015). The Politicisation of Ethics review in New Zealand, Dunmore Press, Auckland
  3. Sieber, Joan and Martin Tolich (2013). Planning Ethically Responsible Research Sage, Thousand Oaks
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to
  • Understand and critically evaluate the sociology of power relations within research ethics; compare these patterns and trends cross-nationally
  • Situate qualitative research epistemologically, understanding how its research ethics manifest uniquely
  • Comprehend primary-source material on qualitative research ethics
  • Apply ethical principles to current dilemmas in qualitative research ethics

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 10:00-11:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22