Philosophical Foundations of Responsible Research (online course)


The RRBM course or one like it should be part of every PhD education, and I am confident I am a better researcher (and person!) for the experience.

As a PhD student often in a cultural and research bubble at the intersection of my region (Europe) & discipline (International Business), this experience with peers from all over the world allowed me a rare opportunity to exchange ideas outside this silo.

Not only that, over the course of 10 sessions we formed bonds based in care and shared values—particularly, the importance of responsible research—defining a network which I know will last well beyond the end of the course.

Equally valuable was the encouragement to work through challenging yet mind-expanding material on the philosophy of (social) science. These were much better digested by talking through them with peers, through discussions and even debates!

Sai, Austria, 2022 cohort

I look fondly back on the experiences of the Philosophical Foundations of Responsible Research course, interacting with the material as well as fellow participants truly broadened my horizons in terms of what research can do and perhaps, more importantly, what research is supposed to do. The structure of the course lends itself well to giving you a chance to share your understanding of the material as well as hear and discuss the understanding of others. It truly is worth the effort you put into it, which may appear initially to be intensive, but you reap a handsome reward with the diversity of opinion and richness of the debate.

My time during the Philosophical Foundations of Responsible Research course has proven to be one of my best moments during my PhD. I found it suited to those who merely wanted to discuss the philosophies of why we do research but equally if not more so to those who wanted to better themselves as researchers going forward. I can only heartily recommend the course for doctoral students who are seeking to define their path in research.

Robert, Netherlands, 2022 cohort

The course is an experience that opens the minds of any doctoral student! It’s a journey to seek the truth in research, with a value-neutral approach, rather than a value-free ideal.

There are 8,000 management articles published every year. And the way we define which are successful or not is according to the number of citations that they have. This can be a trap and being provocative may be more impactful than being right. Is at this point that responsible research principles are key to leading good research. The course introduces us to responsible research principles, the philosophical research foundations, and even the SDGs to conduct responsible research to create a better world. Journals are likely to publish research that is both rigorous and meaningful.

I strongly recommend that every doctoral student should take this course! Dr. Tsui, Dr. Lange, and their collaborators will lead you through a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Jose, United States, 2022 cohort

Do you have the feeling that you can “see” the paradigms behind arguments put forward and the values from which they are constructed, however, the more powerful and articulate the debater, the more skilfully resistant to revelation these paradigms and values become?

If you take one course on your PhD journey, RRBM is most worthy of your precious time.

Lift the veil on system change. As a seasoned professional with executive and life experience of system change, and now a doctoral candidate, I cannot applaud RRBM enough for sowing the seeds of system change in academic research. RRBM course leaders skilfully guide participants through extremely dense, yet critical material, to lift the academic veil on the transformation processes of our time.

Crystalize your stance. In response to current societal calls for systems change, the course elevates the business and management research perspective towards a “systems view” of research impact. It helps you uncover your stance – the ontology, epistemology, axiology – that shapes your research impact by design. Though hard work, the course is immensely rewarding, paving the way for crystalizing your research impact.

Grow your tribe. RRBM attracts a great bunch of academic peers with whom to “thresh” these critical issues in a warm and welcoming environment that quickly builds academic relationships and friendships.

Prepare for defence. RRBM helps to make clear and transparent arguments for the appropriate role of values in research design. I have no doubt that RRBM is the ultimate preparation for early planning of responsible research and its later successful defence.

Research with impact. What makes the RRBM course unique, is the explicit focus on system change and what constitutes responsible research. The RRBM course is an absolute must for any Doctoral Researcher intending to contribute to the most critical challenges of our time.

Josephine, UK/Ireland, 2022 cohort

It’s a wonderful and engaging experience, go for it!

The course is designed with early career researchers in mind: to drive the sense-making of the content. Participants are drawn from different universities across the globe: positing an enriching, well-structured, balanced, and inclusive melting pot of views and ideas by colleagues with very different and informative backgrounds – absolutely superb! Input flows from the dedicated team of seasoned academics who guide the sessions as well as the subject experts who are invited to share their brilliant and prized work: welcoming criticism and constructive learning while fully engaging with the students. Perhaps the greatest highlight for me was the feedback I received which helped in shaping the study to ensure actionable and impactful contributions. These insights build upon the evolution of existing philosophical standpoints, and are a meaningful ingredient for broad dissemination once the research has been completed.

Afsa, Scotland, United Kingdom, 2021 cohort

The doctoral seminar hosted by RRBM has been a life-changing experience for me. As a PhD candidate who is all set to write her dissertation, I received the right guidance at the right time about the role of values in social sciences and the progression of science over the years. Such readings are often excluded from the doctoral programs, which deprives the students of the foundational knowledge about the principles and practices one must follow as a researcher. The enriching discussions with Dr. Anne Tsui, Dr. Don Lange, and all the guest speakers helped me understand the message hidden in the readings better. If it hadn’t been for this seminar, my journey as a researcher would have been incomplete.

Piyushi, United States, 2021 cohort

I would recommend that all doctoral students do the Philosophical Foundations of Responsible Research course offered through RRBM. I believe that my doctoral journey would have been incomplete without doing this course. The books, other readings, and overall plan of the course ensures steady progress and understanding of critical concepts. The similarities and differences between science and social sciences are better understood and I am now able to better appreciate the profound ideas of Karl Popper. Responsibility, rigor, and relevance required in research are values that are highlighted in this course and the sooner doctoral students inculcate these values the better it is for them individually as researchers and for all stakeholders as well.

Chandra, India, 2021 cohort

The RRBM course was truly a unique and rewarding experience. First, the world-class mentors and presenters not only share their wisdom and insights, but also encourage the students to challenge their assumptions, think critically, and engage in rigorous debates on important topics in social science and practice. Second, a culturally diverse and multi-disciplinary cohort of doctoral students from across the world offer learning and networking opportunities unlikely available anywhere else. Third, a deep dive into the philosophy of science and principles of responsible research provides the foundation to address current issues in the social sciences and society. The course is hard work, but the rewards are commensurate with the efforts required.

Justin, United States, 2021 cohort

I must say that I had high expectations of this course and these expectations were remarkably exceeded. In fact, I think I was able to get the most out of this course and I am ready to use it in the course of my PhD.

This experience would only have been better if it had been face-to-face, as it is really hard to develop solid relationships online.

Furthermore, your teaching styles and methods will serve as a “role model” during my professional and academic life. The extremely well organized way you presented all the contents and lectures (starting with the syllabus and ending with each of the session closings, including the last one) is impressive.

I am a little exhausted after so much reading and discussions, but really happy to have completed it. Although this was a course, it definitely felt like a full first year of a PhD!

Pedro, Portugal, 2021 cohort

Have you ever wondered what it really means when a threshold of p < .10 versus a p < .05 is used for significance hypothesis testing? (Hint: It’s related to the risks involved as organizations implement management practices. It’s not about whether the effect is “more/less significant” nor whether reviewers would find the results “more/less credible.”)

Have you ever wondered why some people will argue that our research should be value-free, while considering organizational values for performance and profit-making as acceptable (and oftentimes taken-for-granted)? Have you also wondered to what extent researchers’ own values (e.g., values for achievement, status, or societal welfare) have played a role in their scientific work?

Have you ever wondered if there is a parallel between translating physics knowledge to engineering practices, biochemical knowledge to medical practices, and management knowledge from your own studies to managerial practices?

If you find any of the above questions intriguing, you will find the course delightful, just as I did. I did not find definitive answers on all the topics, but the interactive discussions and the relevant readings, helped me expand my perspectives to think through these complex issues.

Perhaps these issues do not seem apparent in our day-to-day research. Yet, through the learning in this course, I have come to realize how deeply embedded these issues are in many of our research decisions. Just because we are not always conscious of the implications and influences of our decisions and actions, the impact nevertheless exists. I appreciate the opportunity and the safe space in which I could learn to be more mindful of what we really do as social scientists.

Of course, it was also a lot of fun to make friends with a bunch of inspiring and friendly faculty and peers from around the world!

Grace, United States, 2021 cohort