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Past event

The ethics of educational leadership research

Online registration has now closed. If you want to attend this event, please email for details of how to register onsite.


Researching educational leadership can raise particular ethical challenges such as:

  •  How can the effects of power imbalances in professional relationships be recognized by researchers and mitigated against?
  •  How can participants be offered confidentiality when focusing on leadership roles which can easily identify individuals?
  •  How can dual professional and academic responsibilities be met by leaders researching in close-to-practice studies?

Such issues might relate to ethical dimensions of the use of methods for data collection which are similar to methods used in the leadership of a school, for example surveys and observation. We will consider the risks and how all concerned can be protected, whilst not forgetting to reflect on how the benefits of educational leadership research can be maximized.

This event will reflect on the ethicality of educational leadership research in relation to the launch of a special issue of Management of Education journal, which focused on research methods for educational leadership, and the launch of the revised BERA ethical guidelines. We will discuss the application of the ethical guidelines to a range of educational leadership research, reflecting on a range of research approaches.  

09.30 Registration, refreshments and welcome
Azumah Dennis and Alison Fox
10.00 The ethical challenges of researching educational leadership 
Azumah Dennis, Open University
10.30 Reflection on the MiE special issue to highlight some key ethical issues pertinent to educational leadership research
Alison Fox, Open University
Deb Outhwaite, Warwick University PRESENTATION
Mishel Moriah, Aberdeen University
and Val Poultney, Derby University
11.00 Table discussion reviewing research approaches to identify issues and explore options
11.30 Hot drinks provided during discussions
12.00 Presentation on the BERA ethical guideline revisions
Jodie Pennacchia, Nottingham University and Alison Fox, Open University 
12.45 Lunch
13.45 Workshop to support discussion and application of the ethical guidelines to some educational leadership research scenarios to identify options and decision-making
14.45 Plenary and closure
15.25 Completion of evaluation forms
15.30 End of meeting


BERA offer a limited amount of bursaries for BERA Student Members only.

  • Bursaries are available for BERA Student Members to the value of £75 towards travel.

To apply for one of these bursaries, please email with a 250 word statement on why you want to attend this event and why you need the financial assistance. Bursaries are offered on a first come, first served basis. Travel expenses will be reimbursed after the event in accordance with our travel policies. You must not have previously received bursary funding from BERA.