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Research Requiring UCL Research Ethics Committee Approval

Formal approval must be sought of the UCL Research Ethics Committee if your research involves:

  • Deception or covert collection of data
  • Children (any person below the age of 18)
  • Vulnerable participants, including prisoners and people suffering from mental illness, or those not deemed able to provide active consent
  • Other living participants or data collected from such, which do not fall into the exemption categories listed below.

You do not need to apply for research permission if you are undertaking:

  • Research involving collection or study of existing, publicly available data
  • Research involving anonymised records and datasets in the public domain
  • Research involving the use of educational tests, surveys, interviews or observations of public behaviour UNLESS the information is recorded so as human participants can be identified, AND disclosure of the participants’ responses could place them at risk of criminal or civil liability, or damage their financial standing, employability or reputation.
  • Similar research not so exempt, but where the participants are elected or appointed public officials or candidates for public office.
  • Service evaluation or audit; participants would normally be those who use or deliver this service, and the process would not change the actual service being delivered. This data could also be used for subsequent research providing the data is anonymous, no participants can be identified from the resulting report, and use of the data will not cause substantial damage or distress.

AND your research does not fall into the categories requiring formal approval listed above.

The Chair of the Institute of Archaeology’s Ethics Committee can also provide guidance on completing the relevant application form (contact Rachael Sparks on r.sparks@ucl.ac.uk). Institute of Archaeology students should also read the Ethical Guidelines for Student Dissertations and other assessed work section of this website before proceeding.


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