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is of central importance for all research projects in social work. It ensures that research is ethical and responsible, protecting the rights and well-being of the people who participate in our studies.

By adhering to ethical principles, we ensure integrity, transparency and trust in our research findings. Research ethics also strengthens the credibility of our profession and safeguards the quality of our work, while ensuring that we respect the needs and values of the communities we work with.

Steine aus dem Spiel Scrabble formen die Worte Integerity, Ethics und Code

Research ethics

Before empirical data is collected on and with humans in externally funded research projects, ethics applications must now be submitted to ethics committees. Ethics committees examine and evaluate ethical and legal aspects of research projects. The aim is to guarantee all human rights in the research process. Today, funding can only be obtained with a favourable ethics vote from a committee. Ethics votes are also increasingly required for publication in scientific journals.

This means for our faculty:

  • All qualification theses with empirical components should undergo a research ethics self-examination.
  • All qualification theses should document which preventive measures have been introduced to exclude potential hazards and risks for people in the research process.

The following information will help you with your research ethics self-assessment!

The joint ethics committee of Bavaria's universities assesses research projects submitted by members of Bavarian universities. The Ethics Committee examines and issues an opinion on the ethical aspects of planned research projects in accordance with the current statutes. The responsibility of the responsible researcher remains unaffected. Each application is reviewed and assessed by at least two independent experts. The final statement is adopted in a regular meeting with the Steering Committee.

Further information can be found on the GEHBa homepage.

The DGSA's Code of Research Ethics was developed in 2019 and 2020 with the involvement of many stakeholders. In particular, the participants of the Research Section and the Ethics Expert Group, the members of the Research Ethics Committee and the spokespersons of the DGSA sections and expert groups contributed their expertise. This process was coordinated by the DGSA Executive Board.

This Research Ethics Code of the German Society for Social Work (DGSA) formulates central scientific standards and research ethics principles for social work research. It aims to provide orientation for the design of the framework conditions for research and - in the sense of a self-commitment - for the conception and practical implementation of studies.

It is intended to stimulate research ethics reflections, evaluations and learning processes and support well-founded decisions, which should always be made on a project-specific basis and made as transparent as possible.

In this sense, the Code of Research Ethics addresses researchers in different positions and contexts as well as funding organisations, university management, students and people who participate in studies in different ways or are affected by the implementation of a study.

The Code of Research Ethics also forms the basis for the work of the DGSA's Research Ethics Committee, which prepares research ethics reports on request if these are required for the application of a research project or research-related publications.

The committee examines whether the respective application fulfils minimum research ethics standards or whether there are any concerns. The review of research projects by the Research Ethics Committee does not relieve researchers of the responsibility of sensitively recognising ethical conflicts that arise in the course of the research process and dealing with them appropriately. Collegial counselling can support the discussion of research ethics issues.

Further information on research ethics and the DGSA Research Ethics Committee can be found on the DGSA homepage.

This questionnaire serves as a research ethics self-assessment before conducting empirical research projects that are carried out as part of all qualification work at the Faculty of Social Work (term papers, research workshop reports, BA and MA theses, dissertations, etc.). They contain minimum standards of research ethics that should be adhered to in the interests of people who are involved in the research as subjects, interviewees, group discussion participants, etc. The standards serve good research, i.e. also the observance of personal rights, including dignity, protection and informational self-determination. The questionnaire was developed by the faculty's internal research ethics working group; the basic ideas were taken from a comparable questionnaire at Regensburg University of Applied Sciences with kind permission.

Questionnaire for research ethics self-assessment

The following research ethics principles have been developed and continuously refined with students in various seminars on research ethics at the Faculty of Social Work since the winter semester 2008/09. The principles represent the research ethics self-image of the degree programmes at the Faculty of Social Work.
Students and lecturers undertake to comply with these standards.

Research ethics standards