Coronavirus information and guidance


Ethical application process

Ethical approval is required if you are conducting research which requires you to interact with humans and/or human tissue. This applies to Undergraduate Honours, Masters and PhD students as well as members of staff.

17 April 2020

In response to COVID-19 , the University has provided interim guidance on making a new application for ethical approval. Read the interim guidance before you prepare and submit an application.

Types of research that require ethical approval include:

  • surveys
  • questionnaires
  • interviews
  • psychology studies
  • case studies
  • invasive testing.

Research involving social media also requires ethical approval. Both researchers and participants must be fully aware that social media and social networking can have blurred boundaries regarding privacy. Researchers are responsible for ensuring that participants know that, although every effort will be made to restrict visibility, there is a potential for research done this way to become accessible to a much wider audience: once uploaded, it remains a permanent traceable online record, even if you choose to delete it later. See more information on UTREC web page Research involving social media.

You must obtain ethical approval in the form of an approval letter and associated code before proceeding with your research. If you are a student you will be required to bind a copy of your formal approval into your dissertation or thesis prior to submission. In addition, many journals now require evidence that ethical approval was granted in association with the work prior to accepting papers for publication.

The University Teaching and Research Ethics Committee (UTREC) is the overarching committee which delegates responsibility for the ethical review of all teaching and research activities involving human participants to each School.

The UTREC pages are an excellent source of information in relation to conducting your research. Please refer to the guidelines provided by UTREC for help.

The ethical application form and all associated forms can be found on the UTREC pages at Ethical application.