Research Ethics in Qualitative Health Research


Qualitative health research has gained relevace in recent years. The ethical review of qualitative health research poses various ethical and practical challenges for qualitative researchers and members of ethics committees and this has stirred up a lively international debate.

International Spring School

Legal regulations, ethical codes and research ethical infrastructures differ from country to country, even if the fundamental ethical questions are the same.The aim of this international spring school is to bring together early-career (PhDs and postdocs) and senior researchers from various disciplines to critically examine ethical issues in qualitative health research.


  • principles of research ethics
  • international ethical guidelines and national discipline-specific ethical codes
  • legal regulation and research ethical ethical infrastructures
  • ethical review practices
  • procedural ethics and ethics of practice
  • informed consent and competence to consent
  • risk-benefit assessment
  • data protection and anonymization
  • relationship between researchers and research participants
  • vulnerability

Confirmed speakers

  • Hella von Unger, Professor of Sociology at the Ludwig-Maximilian University, Germany and chairperson of the ethics committee of the faculty of Social Sciences
  • Michael Schönhuth, Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Trier, Germany
  • Kristin Margrete Heggen, Professor of Health Science at the University of Oslo, Norway
  • Henrika Jormfeldt, Professor of Nursing at the University of Halmstad, Sweden

The spring school will take place at the Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine of the Ruhr University Bochum from March 21-25, 2022.

Participants with a background in health science, nursing science, social science, social anthropology, medical ethics or psychology preferably from Germany, Norway and Sweden are invited to present their research at the workshop.

Applicants are asked to send an abstract in English on any of the subtopics (300-400 words) along with a short CV to

Submit your application by January 9, 2022.

Accepted participants will give a presentation of 25 minutes, followed by a 30-minutes discussion. The conference language is English. All participants are invited to prepare a manuscript and to submit it for publication in a special issue.


Travel expenses and costs for accommodation will be reimbursed. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is included. Participants will receive a remuneration of € 300 for preparing a manuscript that is ready for submission to the special issue.


Dr. phil. Sarah Potthoff
Dr. phil. Matthé Scholten
Christin Hempeler
Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil. Jochen Vollmann

This spring school is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

More Information