The Helsinki-Copenhagen Colloquium in Evidence in Social Inquiry


Third workshop: Research Ethics and Social Inquiry
11-12 December 2014
University of Copenhagen Amager
Organizers: Julie Zahle, Rasmus Helles, and Petri Ylikoski

Download the event programme here.

Social researchers must carry out research in ethically acceptable and responsible ways. This means that there are ethical constraints on the sort of data they may use, produce, and gather. But how exactly – and to what extent – should ethical considerations guide and restrain social inquiry? A standard answer is that social researchers may use, produce, and gather any data compatible with their abidance to basic research ethical principles such as the principle of no harm, of informed consent, of confidentiality, and of anonymity. This stance has been challenged. Some insist that while these principles should guide medical research, they do not apply to (all) social research. Others argue that the principles are insufficient guides to ethically responsible social research. Are they right? In addition, there are questions like the following to consider: How exactly should the principles be interpreted and how should they be applied particularly in relation to new phenomena and new areas of study? Finally, to what extent, if any, may abidance to these principles be outweighed by the possible value for society of new knowledge about specific societal matters?  The aim of this workshop is to gain a better understanding of the ways, and extent to which, ethical considerations should inform and constrain social inquiry. The workshop is part of the Helsinki-Copenhagen Colloquium in Evidence in Social Enquiry which is a series of workshops that bring together philosophers of science and social scientists to explore how social scientific data provides evidence for claims about social phenomena, how social scientists justify their interpretations and explanations, and how social scientific research can serve as evidence for policy purposes. The series will especially, but not exclusively, focus on so-called qualitative research. The aim is to start a debate that creatively combines modern philosophy of science with reflective understanding of actual social scientific research practices in order to better understand the nature of social scientific knowledge.

Everybody is welcome at the event but registration is required. If you would like to participate in the workshop, please send an email to Julie Zahle – jzahle@hum.ku.dk.

 

 

Second workshop: Data and Phenomena in Qualitative Inquiry
29-30 September 2014
University of Helsinki Main Building, Fabianinkatu 33, room 12

See the event programme here.

 

 

First workshop: The Role of Values in Social Inquiry
December 12 & 13 2013
University of Copenhagen
Organizers: Julie Zahle and Petri Ylikoski

Download the event programme here.

The workshop will discuss the role of non-epistemic values – such as political, moral and social values – in the production of social scientific knowledge. Rather than focusing on the social role of the social scientist, the workshop will concentrate on the research process itself. The two key questions for the workshop are: In which ways can – and should – non-epistemic values influence the research process? And what are the consequences of these influences for the objectivity of the enquiry and its results? By focusing on these questions the workshop will give us a better understanding of the meaning of the concepts of evidence and objectivity in the context of social scientific research.
It is the first workshop in the Helsinki-Copenhagen Colloquium in Evidence in Social Enquiry – a series of workshops that bring together philosophers of science and social scientists to explore how social scientific data provides evidence for claims about social phenomena, how social scientists justify their interpretations and explanations, and how social scientific research can serve as evidence for policy purposes. The series will especially, but not exclusively, focus on so-called qualitative research. The aim is to start a debate that creatively combines modern philosophy of science with reflective understanding of actual social scientific research practices in order to better understand the nature of social scientific knowledge.