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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Helene Starks
B H 527
Seattle Campus

Research Methods in Bioethics

Introduces the range of methods available for conducting research in bioethics, including both normative and empirical approaches using quantitative and qualitative methods. Students formulate research questions and explore how the application of these approaches generates different research results and products. Offered: Sp.

Class description

This course introduces students to a range of methods for conducting research in bioethics. Methods covered in the course range from the normative to the empirical, including modes of inquiry that draw on philosophical theory and principles, narrative, religious concepts and doctrine, qualitative interviews, focus groups, surveys, and experimental and observational designs. Students will practice writing research questions and developing research proposals, and workshop them during class to learn how to match research methods to research questions. Students conclude the course by drafting a proposal that uses either a normative or empirical approach to address their research question.

Student learning goals

Understand how normative and empirical research contribute to and inform each other in the exploration of ethical issues and problems.

Learn about the assumptions, epistemologies, methods, tools, and products of ethics research using these different approaches.

Identify what conceptual models, research designs, and methods will be used in their research project and justify why the ones chosen are the most appropriate to address these research questions.

Write a project proposal that includes a discussion of the relevant background humanities (e.g., philosophical, theological, historical, legal) and empirical literature; analytic approach and research design, analytic plan, expected product, and implications for policy and practice.

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Helene Starks
Date: 03/20/2012