Human Participation Research Ethics

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    Theological education often involves research with human participants, and this raises some important ethical issues that may not be familiar to all students, faculty or staff. 

    This course is written for students undertaking research that need ethics approval, for faculty or staff members who want to make sure that research meets the expectations for best ethical practice and for members of a human research ethics committee who are tasked with reviewing research projects in order to give ethics approval.

    The materials are drawn from current best practice in higher education, but the course has been designed specifically with Christian researchers in mind.

    Course Outcomes

    This course highlights the principles underlying ethically-sound responsible research with human participants, overviews key areas that need to be addressed in research ethics applications and provides practical suggestions for documents required for ethical research projects.

    Course content
    • Responsible practice for research using living humans
    • What is ethical research? 
    • Where did these research ethics concerns arise from?
    • Principles underlying sound research with human participants
    • The merit of the research
    • Participants’ informed and voluntary consent
    • Respect for participant’s right to privacy and confidentiality
    • Minimising the risk of harm to research participants
    • Respect for potentially vulnerable participants
    • Truthfulness, including the limitation of deception
    • Social and cultural sensitivity in the research 
    • Appropriate compensation for participation
    • Avoiding conflict of interest
    • Obtaining ethics approval for your research


    This course is authored by Allan Harkness, the founding dean of AGST Alliance (Asia Graduate School of Theology in SE Asia). Now resettled in New Zealand, Allan is a theological education consultant for LeaDev-Langham (NZ) and Overseas Council Australia, and Advisory Director of AGST Alliance. Allan has been on medical and human participant research ethics committees since the 1990s, in Singapore and New Zealand. He is presently a member of the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee and Chair of the AGST Alliance (SE Asia) Human Participants Ethics Panel. He also supervises doctoral candidates in their educational/social science research ventures.

    Delivery mode

    This is a self-paced online course. 


    10 hours of learning.

    ICETE Academy points

    10 points.

    Completion requirements

    You will need to complete the learning sections, critically engage with a series of case studies and submit a written reflection related to your own practice.

    Course enrolment key


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