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Ethics in Contemporary Ethnographic Research


Admission Requirements

This course is open to the following categories of students:

  • Bachelor’s CADS

  • Premaster’s CADS admitted to this specific course during the application procedure

Language of Instruction

Lectures are given in English.
Tutorials: First year bachelor’s students CADS have chosen their preferred language of instruction for tutorials during application. Premaster’s students must follow the course entirely in English.

Exam(s) and assignment(s) are in the same language as tutorials

Course Description and Course Objectives

This course revolves around data: what it consists of, what it can say and do, how to handle it responsibly, who defines it and who is defined by it. In our approach to each of these questions, we will combine ethical reflection with practical application of skills and tools. We will pay special attention to new forms of data generated in and by digital technologies, which are now nearly ubiquitous in ethnographic field sites and our own research practice. By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Critically reflect on ethical dilemmas presented by various kinds of materials gathered in ethnographic research

  • Apply ethical principles and practical skills to process data in a way that is accountable to academic norms and codes of professional conduct

  • Understand how power and knowledge are related in social scientific inquiry

  • Articulate how computational approaches and new forms of data both integrate with and call into question the practice of ethnographic research


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Mode of Instruction

This is a 5 ECTS course, which means 140 hours of study (1 ECTS is equivalent to 28 study hours or sbu's). These 140 study hours are composed from the following components:

  • Lectures: 4 x 3 hours = 12 hours x 1,5 = 18 sbu

  • Tutorials: 5 x 2 hours = 10 hours x 2 = 20 sbu

  • Literature circa 700 pages = 102 sbu

Assessment Method

  • Written assignments totalling max. 5,000 words

  • Weekly written assignments with the right to re-submit within two weeks after receipt of mark for assignment

  • Mandatory attendance at lectures and tutorials

Only the final mark is registered in uSis. The final pass mark is 6,0 or higher; a final mark of 5,0 or lower is deemed inadequate. Final marks between 5,0 and 6,0 are never awarded.

Absence from more than one lecture and one tutorial results in failure to earn a final grade, unless an additional assignment is completed to make up for absences.


Brightspace is the digital learning environment of Leiden University. Brightspace gives access to course announcements and electronic study material. Assignments will also be submitted in Brightspace. Announcements about and changes to courses are given in Brightspace. Students are advised to check Brightspace daily to remain informed about rooms, schedules, deadlines, and details of assignments. Lecturers assume that all students read information posted on Brightspace.

  • How to login

The homepage for Brightspace is: Brightspace

Please log in with your ULCN-account and personal password. On the left you will see an overview of My Courses.

For access to your courses in Brightspace you need to be registered in uSis for those courses.

Course Literature

Readings will be announced and made available through Leiden University’s digital library. In addition to academic texts, we will consult infosec manuals and other guides to help develop technical skills.

Registration in uSis

  • For first-year CADS students and premaster’s students: registration for lectures and tutorials is NOT required as students will be registered by the Student Services Centre (SSC).

  • All other students must register in uSis for all lectures. read more Registration for tutorials is NOT required.

  • Division and enrolment in mandatory tutorials will be done by the student administration and announced via uSis in the first week of lectures.


Dr. John D. Boy