nl en

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

N.B.: Completing this course is required to register for the second-year courses Fieldwork NL, Research Preparation, and Multivariate Analysis.

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


See our website

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: 6 x 2 hours = 12 hours x 1,5 = 18 sbu

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

  • Literature (circa 600 pages) and written assignments = 102 sbu

Assessment Method

  • Written assignments totalling max. 3,000 words

  • A group assignment (pass/fail).

  • Mandatory attendance in 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 tutorial results in failure to earn a final grade, unless an additional assignment is completed to make up for absences.

Registration in My Studymap

All students will be registered for the lecture and the exam (including re-sits) by the Student Services Centre (SSC). Students do need to confirm the registration for their exams in My Studymap as described below.

Division and enrolment in the mandatory tutorials will also be done by the SSC and announced via uSis in the first week of lectures.

Confirming your exams

Registration for examinations isn’t necessary for this course, as the course is assessed by a set of assignments.


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 My Studymap 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.


Dr. John D. Boy