Contribution to a Research Ethics Session at the 2008 ESRC Methods Festival

The Oxford e-Social Science Project (OeSS), part of the National Centre for e-Social Science, has been asked to organize a session on research ethics at the 2008 ESRC Research Methods Festival from 30 June to 3 July 2008. It will be held at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, as was the previous festival in 2006, see:

Our particular session is scheduled from 9.15 – 12.45 (with a break) on 2 July. The basic format, which is flexible, would be 3-4 speakers with 1-2 discussants, leaving 30-40 minutes for general discussion.

As a coordinator of this session, I am asking if you might be willing to propose a paper or be willing to serve as a discussant. The programme committee will need a provisional programme of speakers by September, so I will need to firm this up as soon as possible over August. Titles and abstracts would be due by the end of November 2007, but fuller versions of the presentations, ideally as a paper, would not be needed until May 2008.

At this time, we are keeping the session open to a wide range of possible topics. We are interested in the issues raised by the application of advances in information and communication technologies, such as the Internet, both as a new research tool and new space in which research methods are applied. However, we are open to innovative treatments of ethical issues within any domain for research, including case studies, policy studies, frameworks for understanding the ethical issues of social science research, ethical issues arising within multi- or inter-disciplinary and international research, and research ethics as an object of study from any social science disciplinary perspective. From the OeSS project we have become convinced that ethical issues are rising in significance across a range of subject areas. Is this an inherent feature of new ways of conducting research, or a transitional phase?

If you might be interested in participating, please let me know what topic(s) you would propose, and I will get back with you. Whether or not you are personally interested in contributing, I would welcome your advice on emerging issues or studies that should be incorporated in this session.

Travel and Expenses: Travel is expected to come out the existing ESRC research budgets of participants. If you are not in a position to fund your travel in Britain from an existing ESRC research project, please let me know as we can apply for a limited amount of local travel funds. I don’t believe we are able to support international fares.

Many thanks for considering this request. I look forward to hearing from you.


Bill Dutton
E-Mail: Director at

Director, Oxford e-Social Science Project and Co-Director, e-Horizons Project

National Centre for e-Social Science:
Oxford e-Social Science Project:
e-Horizons Project:

Comments are most welcome