Research ethics resources
The University is globally recognised for the quality of its research. In order to maintain and uphold the high standards of our research we ensure that integrity, ethics and excellence are at the core of our research activities and fully embedded in our research culture. Please refer to the Statement on Research Integrity for further information. We are concerned with protecting the rights, dignity, health, safety and privacy of research participants, the welfare of animals and the integrity of the environment. The University is also concerned with protecting the health, safety, rights and academic freedom of researchers and the research reputation of the University. All research involving human participants, their tissue and/or data must undergo an ethical review.
COVID-19 - Guidance for UoB research involving human participants
Guidance on research involving human participants is available from the Research and Enterprise Development webpage as well as the links to using social media at the bottom of this page.
Application form: Staff and Doctoral students
- This proforma must be completed for each piece of research carried out by members of the School for Policy Studies, both staff and doctoral postgraduate students.
- See the School for Policy Studies ethics procedures guidance (PDF, 129kB)for clarification of the process.
- All research must be ethically reviewed before any fieldwork is conducted, regardless of source of funding.
- Please stick to the word limit provided.
Application form: Undergraduate and taught postgraduate students
- This form must be completed for each piece of research carried out by all undergraduate and taught postgraduate students in the School for Policy Studies.
- Students should discuss their proposed research with their supervisors who will then approve and sign this form before forwarding to the relevant dissertation convenor, unit convenor or programme director. Failure to get approval prior to conducting any fieldwork may result in the University taking action for research misconduct – the outcome of such action may be that your degree is not awarded and/or that you are unable to submit your fieldwork findings for assessment
- This signed form or a copy must be submitted as an appendix to your dissertation. If appropriate, a copy of approval from the SPS REC or other REC committee should also be in the appendix to your dissertation.
- School for Policy Studies ethics procedures guidance (PDF, 129kB)
- Data Proection Guidance (PDF, 257kB)
- GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018: Implications for research (PDF, 159kB)
- UK Data Service Informed Consent form (PDF, 133kB)
- Social Media Research: A Guide to Ethics. Dr. Leanne Townsend and Prof. Claire Wallace (The University of Aberdeen)
- Using Twitter as a Data Source: An Overview of Ethical, Legal, and Methodological Challenges.
- The British Psychological Society’s guidelines on ‘Ethical Principles for Conducting Research with Human Participants’
- British Psychological Society's guidelines on Internet Mediated Research (IMR)
- UKRIO Guidance on Internet Mediated Research
Please note the following:
- Researchers should take reasonable steps where possible to protect their personal identity. If they wish to use social media to recruit participants, where possible they should create a bespoke research/study profile linked to their University details that is separate from any personal accounts. Students should then delete the research profile once the study has been completed. However, if they fail to do so, when a student leaves the university, their account linked to their UoB email address would then expire and the account would no longer be accessible.
- Unfortunately, in today's online age, it is still possible to identify a researcher's identity and link their research profile to their personal online profiles which could cause issues. This is a risk that researchers should acknowledge in their ethics application and they should provide steps they will follow to address these risks in their application.
- It should also be acknowledged that the scope for harassment increases when students conduct research through social media. The risk to the researcher needs to be appropriately considered and support mechanisms must be in place, which should be demonstrated in ethics submissions.