Information Studies


Research Ethics

Research Ethics at UCL:


If your research involves human participants or data derived from human subjects, when framing your proposal you should consider whether your topic, or your proposed methodology, may have any ethical implications. In particular, you should consider whether your work will have any implications for the rights or sensibilities of other individuals (particularly children or vulnerable adults) or of the community as a whole.

Certain types of research involving named individuals may require you to obtain permission from UCL's Ethics Committee (for details see http://ethics.grad.ucl.ac.uk/).  You particularly need to be aware of the presumption towards the anonymisation of reported data and how this links to the exemption from Research Ethics Committee approval.

If you are considering collecting data involving human participants (especially by observation, focus group, interview or questionnaire) you MUST contact the Chair of the Research DIS Ethics Committee before commencing. Please read UCL's guidelines (http://ethics.grad.ucl.ac.uk/exemptions.php) for more detailed information.

Guidance notes

UCL expects all staff and students to follow its Research Ethics regulations (http://ethics.grad.ucl.ac.uk/).

All staff & students embarking on research with human participants must complete this research ethics application form (RESEARCH ETHICS FORM) and submit it to the Chair of the DIS Research Ethics Committee (REC), Dr Andrew Flinn (a.flinn@ucl.ac.uk) BEFORE they start their research.

The REC Chair will review the form and decide whether:

  • the proposed research is exempt from the full UCL Research Ethics Committee - the REC Chair will notify you and no further action is required.
  • the proposed research requires approval by the UCL Research Ethics Committee - the REC Chair will notify you and advise on how to proceed

Changes to exempt research project: if you are planning to change your research project or methodology, you MUST contact the DIS REC Chair, Dr Andrew Flinn, as soon as possible and provide relevant details as your project may now no longer be exempt.