Research and knowledge exchange

Do I need ethics approval for my research?

The following checklist will help determine whether or not ethics review is needed for your research.  The aim of the five questions is to flag up any areas of potential risk to participants, you the researcher, or the environment.  If you do need ethics approval, you MUST NOT start your research until you have the appropriate ethical approval and permissions in place. 

(printable version in Word)Y/N
1.a Will the research project involve human participants, with or without their knowledge or consent at the time? (This includes yourself if you are the main subject of the research).  
b. Will the research project involve animals?  
2. Is the research project likely to expose any person, whether or not a participant, to physical or psychological harm?  
3. Will you have access to personal information and/or data that allows you to identify individuals or confidential corporate or company information?  
4. Does the research project present a significant risk to the environment or society?  
5. Are there any ethical issues raised by this research project that require further ethical review?  

In the case of studies involving NHS patients, their data or tissue, NHS staff or facilities it is likely that University sponsorship and external HRA/ NHS Research Ethics Committee (REC) review will be required. There are other instances where an external REC review may be required (such as research involving members of the Armed Forces for example.) For advice on which ethics review process you need to follow see How to apply for ethics review.