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 Considerations in Visual or Vocal Research (Word doc 36k)
Ethical Considerations in Research Involving Social Media (Word doc 73k)
Ethical Approval Procedures
The University has developed a Handbook for Ethical Approval & Practice Procedures
The procedures for ethical approval and practice in this handbook have been designed to assist in the application and assessment of ethical approval requests, implementation of good conduct in research, and in the prevention of misconduct. This is to ensure that researchers conduct research of the highest quality.
The handbook is written for staff and students of the University who are planning to carry out a research project, and staff involved in assessing applications for ethical approval. It may be used as a reference in the preparation of bid for grant funding.