All research has an ethical dimension: we all have a responsibility to consider why our research matters, to whom it matters, and how it matters. However, there are also legal and university regulations that we must comply with when our research brings us into direct or indirect contact with any live human participants or their data. Further information can be found at https://warwick.ac.uk/services/ris/research_integrity/.
When undergraduate research involves an element of oral history, use of questionnaires, social media or other research involving live participants or their data, or involves certain groups, the student should discuss the ethical issues raised by such materials with their supervisor, to ensure that they have any necessary approval and that they comply with relevant laws and regulations.
Do you need ethics approval?
Does your intended research include any of the following methodologies?
- Interviews or oral histories
- Questionnaires or surveys
- Analysis of any kind of social media
- Ethnography or observation
- Any other methodology that involves live human participants or their data?
If you said yes to any of the above, then you may require ethics approval for your project: please discuss it with your supervisor and/ or the dissertation module convenor(s).
Does your intended research involve any of the following groups or their data?
- NHS patients, staff, or facilities
- Children aged under 16
- Vulnerable adults (those who may be unable to give informed consent or are in a dependent position)
- People engaged in criminal or illegal activities (including visiting websites even if there is no direct contact with individuals)
- Terrorist or extremist organisations (including visiting websites even if there is no direct contact with individuals)
- Ministry of Defence personnel?
If you said yes to any of the above, you may require additional approval from the University - please discuss this with your supervisor before embarking on your research.
Will your research require any travel or take place in any “high risk” locations?
- A foreign country (especially if there is a travel warning in place)
- Anywhere where you might put yourself at personal risk by visiting or with which you are unfamiliar
- Any other location you think might be "high risk"?
If you said yes to any of the above, you may need additional approval from the University - please discuss this with your supervisor before embarking on your research.