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Free course

Becoming an ethical researcher

Free statement of participation on completion
Becoming an ethical researcher
Becoming an ethical researcher

This free course, Becoming an ethical researcher, explores the ethics of planning, carrying out and reporting research which involves human participants. It will sensitise you to issues that a researcher should consider to support ethical and well-justified decision-making.

A wide variety of research scenarios are used to stimulate individual reflection and discussion on the course forum, participation in which, together with successful completion of quizzes, will contribute to gaining a digital badge.


Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation – which also displays your Open University badge.

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our start-of-course survey 6666. Once you complete the course we would also value your feedback and suggestions for future improvement, in our end-of-course survey 6767. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others. 

Becoming an ethical researcher

Earn this free Open University digital badge if you complete this course! The badge can be displayed, shared and downloaded as a marker of your achievement. The badge is awarded for completing the course and passing the quizzes.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • anticipate ethical issues in research with humans which need a researcher's attention
  • think through options available to a researcher from an ethical perspective
  • offer an ethical rationale for decisions made as a researcher
  • feel confident in dealing with unanticipated issues as they arise during research
  • act ethically when planning, conducting and reporting research with humans.

First Published: 08/07/2022

Updated: 08/07/2022

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