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The Data Protection Act 1998 states that if you collect personal data about identifiable individuals you must only collect the data your research requires, keep this data secure at all times, and only hold onto this data as long as it is needed for your stated purpose.
If you do not make your research subjects anonymous, and have collected personal data about them, then you must register your research with the UCL Data Protection Officer.
- To do this, go to the UCL Legal Services website and download their 'Form 2: Research registration'. Complete this online and email it to: email@example.com. This should take around 5 days to process. Registration should take place before you commence collecting your data.
Data Protection does not become an issue if you choose to anonymise your data, ensuring that you do not keep personal details about your research subjects and so cannot link individuals to your research data or results. This is generally considered good practice when working with human participants, as it minimises the risk of harm, should their responses or involvement with your work become known. However anonymisation may not always be practical or desirable within the framework of your particular research.
If you need any further advice on data protection issues, please contact the Institute of Archaeology’s Data Protection Officer, Dayfdd Griffiths.