Research ethics

​​​​​​​The university's research ethics guidance is available in the form of a Handbook of Principles and Procedures.  

The handbook includes a statement of ethical principles, details research proposal assessment procedures and addresses concerns of research in academic and professional fields. ​

University principles

1. Primary responsibility for the conduct of ethical research lies with the researcher.

Where applicable, professional codes of conduct of external organisations take precedence over the university’s expectations and requirements for the conduct of research, although in most cases final approval of research projects remains with the REC.

2. Researchers have responsibilities:

  • towards research participants (including themselves): to ensure as far as possible that their physical, social and psychological well-being is not detrimentally affected;
  • towards other researchers: to avoid, wherever possible, actions which may have deleterious consequences for other researchers or which might undermine the reputation of their discipline.
  • towards the environment: to ensure that any research considers and prioritises the sustainability of natural resources and the protection of the environment more generally​

3. Research should be based, as far as possible and practicable, on the freely given informed consent of those under study.

The researcher should:

  • explain to participants the aims, nature, conduct, funding, duration, purpose and consequences of research, and how results will be disseminated;
  • give due consideration to the power imbalance between researcher and researched, and the right of participants to refuse participation at any time;
  • explain to participants the extent to which they will be afforded anonymity and confidentiality, and their option to reject data-gathering devices such as audio recorders etc;
  • discuss potential uses of data with participants and obtain their agreement;
  • give due consideration to the interests of any ‘gatekeepers’ where access is gained via a ‘gatekeeper’;
  • where research participants are young children or other vulnerable groups, consult relevant professionals, parents/guardians and relatives, and attempt to obtain informed consent of participants, their parents and those who are inloco parentis;
  • anticipate and guard against any possible harmful consequences of research for participants.

4. Researchers should endeavour, wherever possible and practicable, to avoid the use of deception.

Any researcher considering deceptive methods must seek approval from the Research Ethics Committee. Covert research should be a last resort.

5. The anonymity and privacy of participants should be respected and personal information should be kept confidential and secure.

Researchers must comply with the provision of relevant Data Protection legislation. While taking every practicable measure to ensure confidentiality and anonymity, they should also take care not to give unrealistic assurances or guarantees.

6. Specific approval from the Research Ethics Committee is required for:

  • research which involves biomedical or clinical intervention;
  • deceptive research where the investigator actively sets out to misrepresent themselves;
  • certain classes of covert research;
  • all research where participants are under 18;
  • research into sensitive topics;
  • research involving vulnerable groups.
If your project needs to be referred to the REC here's the research ethics form​ you'll need to fill in and submit.

7. University of Gloucestershire ‘Clinical Trials’ Insurance

The following research conducted within the United Kingdom is automatically covered:

  • questionnaires;
  • venepuncture;
  • measurements of physiological processes;
  • collections of body secretions by non-invasive methods;
  • intake of foods or nutrients or variation of diet (other than administration of drugs);
  • psychological activity.

For all other research involving human participants please contact​.

Contact us

The university's Research Ethics Committee is chaired by Dr Emily Ryall and has representatives from each of the University's Schools in addition to practitioner and ethical contract guidance expertise.

Research Ethics Committee 2020/21​​ dates:

  • ​30 September 2020​
  • 11 November 2020
  • 13 January 2021*
  • 24 February 2021
  • 7 April 2021
  • 19 May 2021
  • 16 June 2021

Please contact the Chair and for ethical consideration outside this time.

Deadlines for submission of research ethics applications for consideration by the Committee to​ are seven working days in advance of the meeting.

*Please be aware that due to the holidays, the deadline for the 13 January 2021 meeting is Monday 21 December 2020.​