module specification

SH5000 - Ethics and Research in Professional Contexts (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Ethics and Research in Professional Contexts
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
18 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
210 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 60%   Essay
Coursework 40%   Research exercise
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

 This module aims to:
• Introduce students to professional codes of ethics and underlying ethical concepts and methods of ethical decision-making
• Provide students with a critical understanding of different ethical approaches to moral dilemmas in a range of practice-based professional contexts
• Provide opportunities for students to critically engage with current debates about ethical decision-making in professional practice
• Enable the development of skills in moral reasoning that can be applied in practical contexts
• Provide a foundation for understanding approaches to social research and evidence based practice
• Facilitate the development of research skills and knowledge for professional and academic development in a range of practice-based professional contexts


 The module programme will be delivered in 2 parts.

Part 1
The syllabus includes:
• Introduction to sector specific professional codes of ethical practice LO1-3
• Critical thinking and moral philosophy in relation to understanding professional codes of ethics, and in application to a variety of case-studies from Sector specific practice
• A range of professional ethical issues including: confidentiality; informed consent; autonomy versus best interests; resource allocation; cost-benefit analysis; defining ‘best’ practice; characterising the ethical professional (honesty, compassion, integrity, etc.) etc.
• The relationship between professional ethics and law e.g. mental capacity
• Negotiating personal ethical beliefs & professional ethics

Part 2
• Understanding the research process and research principles including research ethics LO4-6
• Development of contemporary research thinking; research paradigms; key elements of practice based research;
• Theoretical approaches to the process of research
• Understanding research reports
• Understanding methodology and methods
• Developing research questions, writing a protocol, project management; tools and techniques of research
Dealing with bias and limitations, reflective practice in research, evidence based and values based practice.


Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The teaching and learning strategy for this module is based on an integrated programme of lectures, with supporting material and exercises, together with the use of student-centred learning resources.  Lectures will be used to provide a conceptual framework.  There will also be inter-active/discussion forums, involving group activities and workshops.  Student-centred assignments will enable students to reinforce and expand their knowledge as well as to obtain competence in ethical argument and research skills and knowledge.  Tutorials will address specific issues, and allow a venue for debate and presentations.  A Web-based VLE is available to support, reinforce and test student understanding with access to additional learning resources.

Learning outcomes

 On successful completion of this module, students will be expected to:

Part 1
1. Outline the key perspectives, principles and approaches to ethics and apply the processes of ethical decision making
2. Identify and critically explore the ethical and moral aspects of specific practices in diverse professional contexts, including professional codes of ethics
3. Engage in ethical reasoning and debate, with due regard for cultural differences and contexts

Part 2
4. Operate the research process and ethical approaches to research
5. Apply research principles and skills to selected professional contexts
6. Reflect on biases and limitations in conducting research

Assessment strategy

 The assessment strategy for this module is designed to assess achievement of the module learning outcomes for both parts. It includes a range of formal and informal assessment tools; assignments will be formatively and/or summatively assessed. These assignments will include individual and group activities, case-study work, presentations, progress exercises, a coursework essay and research exercise.

The module’s formal summative assessment consists of the following two components which assess both parts for the module:

Part 1
1. Essay - (3000 words, LO 1,2, 3)

Part 2
Research exercise - students will prepare a mini research protocol identifying and critically analysing the research skills used (2,500 words, LO 4, 5 and 6)


 Part 1
Anderson, E. and Cornelli, A. (2018) 100 Questions (and Answers) About Research Ethics, London: Sage
Banks, S.J. & Nohr, Kirsten (2011) Practising Social Work Ethics Around the World: Cases and Commentaries. London: Routledge.
Beauchamp, T.L. and Childress JF (2013) Principles of Biomedical Ethics (7th edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press
British Medical Association (2001) The medical profession and human rights: a handbook for a changing agenda. London: BMA.
Campbell, A. Gillett, G.& Jones, G. (2001) Medical Ethics (3rd edition).Oxford : Oxford University Press.
Chadwick, R.& Levitt, M. (eds) (1998) Ethical Issues in Community Health Care.  London:  Arnold
Fulford,B., Dickenson, D., & Murray, T.H. (2002) (eds) Healthcare Ethics and Human Values. Oxford: Blackwell
Gillon, R. (ed) (2000) Principles of Health Care Ethics.London: John Wiley & Sons
Harris, J. (1985)The Value of Life. London: Routledge.
Kuhse, H.& Singer, P. (2006) Bioethics: an anthology. Oxford:Blackwell
National Youth Agency (1999) Ethical Conduct in Youth Work Leicester; NYA
National Youth Agency (2000) National Occupational Standards for Youth Work
Seedhouse, D. (2001) Ethics: the Heart of Healthcare  J Wiley & Sons
Teays,W.& Purdy, L (eds.) (2001) Bioethics, Justice and Healthcare. Wadsworth

Journal of Medical Ethics
British Medical Journal

Websites/e-resources: (includes The American Journal of Bioethics Online) : website of The Nuffield Council on Bioethics : British Medical Association ethics resources. : website of The General Medical Council

Part 2
Bell, J., (2018) Doing your Research project: A guide for first time researchers in education, health and social science 7th ed. Maidenhead: OUP
Brown, B. Crawford, P. & Hicks, C. (2003) Evidence-Based Research Dilemmas and Debates in Health Care. Maidenhead: OUP
Bryman, A., (2008) Social Research Methods 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press
Gomm, R., Needham, G. & Bulman, A. (eds) (2000) Evaluating Research in Health and Social Care. London: Sage
Greenhalgh, T. (2006) How to read a paper the basics of evidence based medicine 3rd ed.  Oxford: Blackwell
Harris, M. & Taylor. G (2008) Medical Statistics Made Easy 2nded. Bloxham: Scion
Hek,G. &Moule, P. (2008) Making sense of Research An introduction for Health and Social Care practitioners. 3rd ed. London:Sage
Moule, P. (2018). Making sense of research in nursing, health and social care.
Ridley, D. (2008) The Literature Review a Step-by-Step Guide for Students. London:Sage
Shamoo, A. and Resnik, D (2003) Responsible Conduct of Research.  Oxford University Press