Research ethics

Research at the University of Leeds is conducted according to the principles of academic excellence, community, integrity, inclusiveness and professionalism.

When doing your research, you need to consider its wider implications and engage with the practical, ethical and intellectual challenges that you'll be presented with.

Find out more about the University’s guidance on conducting research ethically, and what you need to do to comply with the University’s Research Ethics Policy on the Research and Innovation Service (RIS) website

Ethical issues in research

Key ethical issues in research include:

  • balancing potential risks and benefits to the participants and the researcher(s)
  • sensitive topics
  • looking after the research data
  • vulnerable participants
  • avoiding coercion
  • conflicts of interest
  • anonymity and confidentiality

Ethics and your research

You should discuss the ethical aspects of your research with your supervisor(s) as part of the research design and management process. It is your responsibility to obtain ethical approval, before starting your research, should it be required, and to allow sufficient time for the ethical review to take place in your research plans. 

Your awareness of the ethical implications of your research and that you have sought ethical approval will be checked at the training needs analysis stage, at transfer, and at examination entry. The examiners of your thesis may ask for access to the full ethical review paperwork considered by the Faculty Research Ethics Committee.  Failure to seek appropriate ethical approval through the review process could have implications for the award of your research degree. 

The Staff and Departmental Development Unit (SDDU) provide a wide range of training and development opportunities.