Date and Time
28th Nov 2013 09:45 –– 28th Nov 2013 13:00
University of Strathclyde

The Scottish Graduate School of Social Science welcomes postgraduate research students to this advanced training event.

Event description

The seminar focus is on innovative research methods along with the ethical issues arising. The topic is partly based on a request from some of our PG students for input on ethical aspects of conducting research: issues of informed consent, anonymity and confidentiality come under sharper scrutiny in studies on sensitive topics, as is often the case with research in social work settings. Helen Masson is Emerita Professor of Social Work at the University of Huddersfield.  She has an international reputation for her work on child protection and from 2004-10 was joint editor of the British Journal of Social Work. She will present a paper about her recent two-year ESRC-funded study which used social networking sites to trace and recruit to the research adults who, as children, were users of social work services due to their 'problematic sexual behaviours'. This is a fascinating study which raises a number of thorny ethical issues, many of which will have wider resonance for students' own work.  The seminar will contribute to students developing advanced skills in aspects of methods - participant recruitment, use of social networking sites, longitudinal research,  and in ethical issues - respecting confidentiality and anonymity, identification and involvement of participants' families (an issue in this study) and research on sensitive topics. Prof Masson will speak for 50-60 minutes followed by 20 minutes of Q & A and plenary  discussion. After a coffee break, students will work in small groups. First, they will be asked to identify key learning points from Prof Masson's presentation and the subsequent discussion, considering how these might apply to their own work. Secondly, they will be asked tro consider a vignette illustrating ethical dilemmas in social research to and then feedback their views to the wider group. We have invited Dr Laura Steckley, Convener of the Glasgow School of Social Work Ethics Committee, to respond to the students' comments. 

The event will be chaired by Prof Stalker. Prof Daniel (University of Stirling pathway rep) and Ms McGhee (University of Edinburgh, pathway convener) will attend the seminar. The main target audience is doctoral students in social work. In addition, we will open up the event to other pathway students at Strathclyde, to the Social Care, Health, Social Policy and Sociology pathways across the SGS and to academic staff in the Faculty. 

Second year Masters in Social Work students will be encouraged to attend. Not only will they benefit in terms of learning which can be applied to their own Masters dissertations but participating in the seminar will also help increase research mindedness within the profession. We will also take the opportunity to encourage them to consider applying for a DTC studentship in 2014. 

In terms of former learning required, we would expect students to have knowledge and awareness of 'standard' ethical issues in research and practice and conventional approaches to participant recruitment. Familiarity with social networking sites may be useful but is not essential.  

The organiser of this event is Prof. Kirsten Stalker and further questions can be directed to her at

Students without pre-existing sources of funding for travel can apply for travel expenses to be reimbursed after the event.  

The venue will be the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, Ground Floor Collins Building, 22 Richmond Street, Glasgow G1 1XP: 



Registration for the event for all categories of delegates is through Eventbrite.

Last updated 22 Nov 2013 2:44pm