“Ethics is central to everything we do whether in research or practice.”
The British Psychological Society
Behavioural science research can yield important findings for the understanding of the mental processes, human experience, social interaction and a wide range of other interesting topics, either within the realms of behavioural sciences, or in interdisciplinary research projects. Nevertheless, to be meaningful and make a positive impact to the development of science and society, research should abide by research ethics guidelines. First and foremost, researchers, participants and potential stakeholders, such as funding bodies, should place trust on behavioural science research and be reassured that this research respects human rights and personal freedoms. Secondly, ethics guidelines enable mutual respect, effective communication, and trustworthiness between researchers and participants. Finally, research findings are meaningless and questionable if research ethics guidelines are not followed, reminding us that good research, is also ethical research.
As a world-class research institution, the University of Sheffield aspires to produce the highest quality research. At the heart of this is the key principle that governs all research involving human participants, personal data and human tissue: respect for the participants' welfare and rights. Researchers have an obligation to ensure that their research is conducted ethically and with the minimum possible risk to all those involved or affected by it.
The Policy comprises three sections, each of which has the authority of University of Sheffield policy (in each section, the Ethics Policy Governing Research Involving Human Participants, Personal Data And Human Tissue may be referred to as 'the Research Ethics Policy', and the University of Sheffield as 'the University'. The University of Sheffield's Research Ethics Committee may be abbreviated to 'UREC').
The Research Ethics Approval Procedure (which has the status of University of Sheffield policy) sets out the practicalities of research ethics review at the University of Sheffield and should be read by all University staff and registered students who are conducting, or planning to conduct, research involving human participants, personal data, and human tissue, as well as any others conducting research on University premises.
Important note: The University's approach to research ethics requires that all research involving human participants, personal data, or human tissue should be reviewed, and research ethics approved obtained, before data gathering commences.
More details about the Ethics Review Procedure will can be found at:
The Department's Research Ethics Committee oversees the ethics procedures across all degree programmes for both students and staff. The Ethics for Research Coordinator, Research Project Coordinator (Mr Giorgos Pavlidis: firstname.lastname@example.org) is available to offer advice to staff and students. All academic members of staff are designated ethics reviewers.
You can obtain ethics approval for your research by visiting the Online Ethics Review System and completing the necessary sections of the application form. You can access the Online Ethics Review System at:
Supporting documents (helpsheets) are available to assist you in submitting the application and successfully completing the submission process. You can access these documents by clinking on the respective links below:
The University Research Ethics Committee (UREC) oversees the department's ethics review procedures. In very exceptional cases where agreement cannot be reached within the department, this committee can review applications. Members of the department wishing to appeal a decision of the Department´s Ethics Review Committee should inform Lindsay Unwin (Research & Innovation Services), Secretary to the UREC.
Amendments to the original research design are common in any research project. You are only required to submit a new ethics application form if the amendments raise new ethical issues in your research. Undergraduates and postgraduate taught students should consult with their supervisor or personal tutor to decide if a new ethics application is necessary.