Research ethics

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

The University is a supporter of the UUK Concordat to Support Research Integrity This means we all have a commitment to:

  • uphold the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research
  • ensure that research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards
  • support a research environment that is underpinned by a culture of integrity and based on good governance, best practice and support for the development of researchers
  • use transparent, robust and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct should they arise
  • work together to strengthen the integrity of research

When planning, conducting and publishing your research, you are expected to adhere to the highest standards being honest, transparent and through in what you are doing. You will need consider any ethical issues in your research ensuring you show care and respect to all participants and you are aware of the wider implications your research may have on society and the wider research community.


Ethical issues in research

Some key ethical issues in research include:

  • balancing potential risks and benefits to the participants (humans, animals or the environment) and the researcher(s)
  • dealing with sensitive topics, information or materials
  • looking after personal data
  • vulnerable participants
  • avoiding coercion
  • conflicts of interest
  • Infringement of privacy- 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 Research Ethics and Integrity webpages offer detailed information and guidance you should read through and links to training that you can access.