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Ethical review of student projects: the responsibility of higher education institutions
Malmö universitet, Fakulteten för hälsa och samhälle (HS), Institutionen för socialt arbete (SA). (Funktionshinder)ORCID-id: 0000-0002-9795-3005
Malmö universitet, Fakulteten för hälsa och samhälle (HS), Institutionen för kriminologi (KR).ORCID-id: 0000-0003-2170-3496
Malmö universitet, Fakulteten för hälsa och samhälle (HS), Institutionen för kriminologi (KR).ORCID-id: 0000-0001-9819-2474
Malmö universitet, Fakulteten för hälsa och samhälle (HS), Institutionen för kriminologi (KR).
2024 (Engelska)Konferensbidrag, Muntlig presentation med publicerat abstract (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract [en]

Research topic/aim

Students’ degree project could if involving research on people, risk infringing on individual´s privacy, processing sensitivepersonal data and encompassing difficult ethical issues, not least regarding informed consent. If these projects would havebeen performed by researchers, the projects would have required prior approval by the Swedish Ethical Review Authority inaccordance with the Swedish Act (2003:460) concerning the ethical review of research involving humans. However, since theprojects are performed by students, who are not obliged to undergo this review, it is unclear how an ethically acceptableapproach is to be guaranteed. It is well known that such student projects are carried out, but the extent to which this happens has not previously been investigated, neither in Sweden nor in other countries. We thereby present our experiences of a formalized ethical review process at a Higher Institution site in Sweden.

Theoretical framework

Establishing such formalized ethical review can lead to a greater consensus on which materials and methods are suitable forthe students, which in turn leads to increased equal treatment. Also serve as a pedagogical support resource for supervisors, who may experience ambiguities regarding research ethics issues and student projects. By gathering and building up ethics expertise at the university, a specialised support function is also developed that can offer advice and guidance, perspectives, and training. Through interaction and cooperation, the support function can contribute to an active learning environment, where students and supervisors are stimulated to reflect on their own decision-making (Fosnot, 2005). Experimental and experiential learning emphasizes that didactics is best achieved through active participation where participants deal with realproblems (Kolb, 1984). Ethically reflective learning specifically emphasizes the development of the student's ability to reflecton their own values, ethical dilemmas, and decision-making on ethical issues (Gill & Thomson, 2020). Common to these theories is the perspective that a formalized assessment offers students and teachers the opportunity to exchangeperspectives and to deal with ethical issues in a more concrete way.

Methodological design

Essays that have passed examination during the years 2014-2017 were included. A total of 1215 essays were read through,and the presence of ethically sensitive content was coded in a pre-established protocol.Expected conclusions/findings Out of a total of 1215 reviewed essays, 277 (22.8%) contained ethically sensitive content; the most common was sensitivepersonal data relating to health 165 (13.6%). In accordance, one in five undergraduate students completed studies that would have required the approval of the Ethical Review Authority, had they been researchers. Ethically sensitive content was proportionally more common in essays at the advanced level (32.9%) than at the first level (20.4%). Only 191 of the 277 essays (68.9%) that should have undergone a formalized ethical review process did so. The implementation of formalized ethical review of thesis projects seems to work best when the student's supervisor has their own experience of ethical review. Different institutional/disciplinary cultures also seem to have a large impact.

Relevance to Nordic educational research

The implementation of ethically acceptable approaches in student projects is an under-researched area, nationally andinternationally. The relevance is thereby urged. 

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Malmö, 2024.
Nationell ämneskategori
Etik
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-66327OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-66327DiVA, id: diva2:1844423
Konferens
NERA: The Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA) 2024 : Adventures of Education: Desires, Encounters and Differences, Malmö University, March 6-8 2024
Tillgänglig från: 2024-03-13 Skapad: 2024-03-13 Senast uppdaterad: 2024-03-14Bibliografiskt granskad

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Nordgren, CamillaWendel, LottaAndersson, ClaesStockfors, Julia

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