Skip navigation to content

Ethical Research

All Research and teaching activities of all staff and students in all Schools / Departments and Units of the University that involve living human subject, tissues and or other samples require formal ethical approval.

Research undertaken in the University, from first year student assignments to faculty research projects, should be conducted according to sound ethical principles, and engage in a thorough consideration of ethical issues that arise during the entire research process. All research should reflect upon implications of our research for participants in the research, funding bodies, colleagues, other researchers and society at large.

Research within the University is undertaken at a number of different levels, including: research projects undertaken by academic staff or contract research staff, whether sponsored by funding bodies or conducted on a private or non-funded basis; research by postgraduate students undertaken for doctoral and Masters theses; research undertaken by undergraduate students for dissertations and for fieldwork and practical modules. All members of the University – academic staff, research staff, postgraduate students and undergraduate students – must ensure that all research adheres to the highest level of integrity and ethical responsibility.

All research conducted by any School that involves living human subjects, or may impact upon them, must be assessed for its ethical implications. Research commonly involves interaction with individuals and groups as research subjects and informants, raising issues of fair treatment, representation, privacy and confidentiality. Research may also raise issues concerning human subjects and informants, for example research on flooding/subsidence/landslides that might cause emotional distress or financial loss. We all have ethical duties to our colleagues and assistants, and to our discipline(s). It is expected that all research should adhere to the Guidelines for Ethical Research Practice outlined below.

These Guidelines are not intended as a rigid set of rules. Instead they are meant to educate researchers, sensitise them to potential sources of ethical conflict, and the dilemmas that may arise in research, scholarship and professional practice. They are intended to be informative and evolutionary rather than authoritarian or bureaucratic.

UTREC word cloud


UTREC Office

College Gate
St Andrews
KY16 9AJ
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: 01334 462368


Related links