What is Ethics?
Ethics is a topic that covers questions relating to what kinds of lives we should lead, what counts as a good society, what actions are right and wrong, what qualities of character we should develop and what responsibilities humans have for each other and the ecosystem. In the context of research, ethics as a subject area traditionally covers topics such as the overall harms and benefits of research, the rights of participants to information, privacy, anonymity, and the responsibilities of researchers to act with integrity.
An ‘ethical principle’ is a general standard or norm that promotes what is regarded as worthy or valuable for the flourishing of humans and/ or the whole ecosystem. Ethical principles may relate to right/wrong conduct, good/bad qualities of character and responsibilities attached to relationships. A principle does not tell us how to act in each situation we encounter, but is broad in scope, and needs interpreting in the light of particular circumstances.
All research raises questions about ethics: about the rigour, responsibility and respect of the practices of researchers.
Ethical Policies & Standards
Legislation relating to research ethics
Professional Body & Subject Group Guidelines
Data Handling & Security
Undertaking Research Outside of the UK
Lay Membership of Ethics Committees
Ethical Considerations in Visual or Vocal Research (Word doc 36k)
Ethical Considerations in Research Involving Social Media (Word doc 75k)
Toward Ethical Research Using Datasets of Illicit Origin (Word doc 31k)
Recruiting Research Participants
Information Sheets & Consent Forms
Working with People & Young People
Working with Vulnerable Adults
Other Considerations when working with participants
Ethical Review & Approval
The University has developed a new Handbook for Ethical Review & Approval 2020-21
The procedures in this handbook have been designed to assist in the application and review of ethical approval requests, implementation of good conduct in research, and in the prevention of misconduct.
The handbook is written for staff and students who are planning to carry out a research project, and staff involved in reviewing applications for ethical approval. It may be used as a reference in the preparation of bid for grant funding.