Ethical aspects of social research and intellectual property rights

dr Joanna Wardzała; dr Aleksandra Perchla-Włosik
Number of hours: 
2h X 15 weeks = 30 hours (1 semester)

The development of social research, its new applications and the relevance of social science research for the public, as well as increasing sensitivity to human values make it necessary to deal more systematically with the ethical problems of sociology and the intellectual property issues of sociological research. The lecture will enable students to acquire knowledge, skills and competences related to the ethical aspects of social research, ethical concepts and regulations connected with the management of empirical data (including concepts and rules of copyright /exclusive right that protects the outcomes of the analytical work of sociologist), and also some issues of intellectual property rights in the context of European innovation policy. More specifically, it will explore the impact of ethical social research in a variety of stages, the presence of values in the form of scientific knowledge, ethical aspects of the use of sociology and ethical dilemmas that occur in the profession of sociologist and also the international protection of intellectual property as well as the intellectual property commercialization (their policy options and practical instruments) and open access policies.


Assessment of individual student’s preparation for the final oral exam based on the knowledge presented during the lectures and also skills and competences presented during the final oral exam:

The final mark for oral exam will be based on the evaluation of oral answers to questions, of which one will be theoretical question (knowledge assessment) and the second will be a question aiming at assessment student’s skill at interpreting and solving concrete ethical problem(s) of social research.


Completed course in methodology (semester 2nd or equivalent)


(1) The role of values and social norms in the formulation of the problems of sociological and social research topics. Intellectual property in social research and  the role of social norms (eg. illegal dates or fills sharing). (2) The traditional categories of social research ethics (eg., privacy, anonymity) in new social conditions. (3) Ethical aspects of different types of social research and the importance of intellectual property issues/rights of social research. (4) The ethical pitfalls of expertise in applied research. (5) Public opinion polls in the service of the world of media and politics.               (6 -7) The normative system of sociological research (among others, ICC/ESOMAR code, the Act on Copyright and Related Rights, the Act on public procurement law, the Act on personal data protection). The Intellectual Property Rights in European and global contexts. Open Access Policies (8) Regulating ethics and (protection of) intellectual property (among others United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Scandinavian, European Research Area, Local Research Ethics Committees).  (9) Ethical Codes and Principles (among others  The Nuremberg Code, The Declaration of Helsinki, CIOMS, The Belmont Report). (10) Between Ethical Conduct and Regulatory Compliance. Research the "dark" sides of life. Emotional work in research.  (11) Quality of research as a standard of ethics and intellectual property, researcher's responsibility for the quality of the research. Informed Consent and Confidentiality. (12-13) How do the market, the media and the Internet influence the behavior of ethical standards of social research? The intellectual property commercialization (their policy options and practical instruments). Open Access – solutions for publishing and promote social research.  (14) "Good manners" in social studies and ethics. Avoiding Harm and Doing Good. (15) Having or Doing Intellectual Property Rights?