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A portfolio on research degree supervision - the ethics statement

The contents of the portfolio, as shown on the portfolio structure page in Table 1 are presented in an order useful for a reader or assessor. However from your point of view, having to produce the portfolio, they are most easily understood out of order, in the order shown in the side menu.

This page considers Section 6, ie the ethics of the portfolio and the ethics statement.

Ethics statement (Section 6 of Table 1)

As the documentary evidence will necessarily include personal communications to and from student(s) as well as documentation about them and their progress, there are ethical considerations. So you either need to block out names and replace them with reference codes or receive the approval of everyone involved. The latter is by far the most straightforward as it is all too easy to forget to block out a name somewhere - and electronic amendment can raise suspicions of fraud. Where, it is not possible to contact someone to obtain their permission, blocking out names has to suffice.

The ethics statement should state your policy on identifying individuals, and any notes of their agreement need to be the first items in the collated evidence.

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© Pat Cryer

* 'Supervisor' is a shorthand for 'research degree supervisor', 'advisor' or 'tutor', and applies to varying extents for all research degrees: PhD, DPhil. MPhil, Prof Doc and even undergraduate and masters' projects. In some countries, notably the USA, a 'supervisor' is known as an 'advisor'.