If your research involves human participants, their data or samples, then ethical review and approval is mandatory and must be obtained before starting your research.

Any material which you collect but for which you do not have ethical approval may not be publishable or allowed in your project; for students, if your dissertation or thesis fails to include evidence of ethical approval, then it could be failed. Also, failure to obtain ethical approval for research involving the recording of personal data may mean that the research is unlawful in terms of data protection.

Failure to obtain and adhere to ethical approvals is defined as research misconduct.