Ethics Form at Informatics
For any study that involves human (or animal) participants, Informatics requires ethics clearance. That is, you need to submit for ethics approval and cannot start the study before approval through the school’s ethics board.
Before filling and submitting the form, read through this page, prepare any of the material you need to submit alongside the request and discuss with your supervisor.
1. Ethics training
You need to pass the basic training in data protction
2. A Participant Information Sheet (PIS) and a participant consent form which will be signed by any of your participants
See an example here
These forms can be the same document, or separate. In total, they must include the following information:
- Who is the data controller (the organisation with the overall responsibility - this will be the University represented by the lead researcher for staff research)
- Enough information, in lay language, for the participants to understand what the project is about and what is required of them
- Any significant risks to the participants involved
- Where required, safeguards put in place to limit risks
- Consent to participate in the research
- What the legal basis is that you rely on to make the research lawful (see below “Legal basis for personal data”)
- Who participants can contact for more information (lead researcher’s contact details), a complaints contact and the contact details of this organisation’s Data Protection Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Details of how people can exercise their rights (see below “Research Participants Rights”)
- Assurances that their data will be held securely
- For special categories of personal data, compliance with the common law duty of confidentiality
- A note that if the research project changes in any way, the amended PIS will be shown on the project’s, Research Centre’s, Institute’s or School’s website.
3. A 100 word description
Please provide a brief summary of the goal and methods of your research. You should cover the following:
- What is the goal of the study?
- If you have human participants, what will you ask them to do?
- If you perform data analyses, what methods will you use?
- To what extent will the design of later parts of your study be affected by the findings of earlier parts?
It’s enough to give high level descriptions of tasks and analysis methods. It helps if you can provide references.
4. Anonymization Policy
How do you ensure confidentiality? Describe your procedures for anonymisation / pseudonymisation, ensuring differential privacy, and other relevant procedures. Recommended length: 50 words.
Example response: No personal data will be recorded at any time. Voice recordings will be stored on an encrypted HD for the duration of the study and erased afterwards.
5. Participant data
What information about participants or data subjects will you collect or use?
Data Collection for Research Purpose
When you collect data for your MSc/PhD research, keep the following principles in mind:
- Lawfulness, fairness and transparency: respect GDPR laws for data collection and inform your participants about any data collection and research purpose (e.g., on the Participant information sheet).
- Purpose limitation: do not use data for any other purposes than those necessary for the research.
- Data minimisation: do not collect more than absolutely necessary for your research. Don’t collect data that is not absolutely necessary for your research.
- Accuracy: every reasonable step must be taken” to erase or rectify data that is inaccurate or incomplete
- Storage limitation: limit data storage to an absolute minimum. Remove data after the study is done.
- Integrity and confidentiality (better known as ‘information security’): protect any data you have collected and treat them as confidential as possible.
All Personal Data is Equal. The term ‘public domain’ has no relevance in data protection regulations.
All personal data is equal in the sense that it can only legally be processed in accordance with the Principles. That means that for harvesting publicly available personal data for research, you must:
Provide the PIS if possible Ensure you have your legal basis and, for special category data, meet the requirements, i.e. have the technical and organisational safeguards in place and ensure that your research is in the public interest
- Names, contact details, other factual information
- Answers to questions, for example in questionnaires or interviews, whether factual or the participant’s opinion
- Photographs, film, video, audio, transcripts of interviews etc.
- Human biological material, e.g. blood, tissue, when linked to an identifier such as CHI number, name etc.
- racial or ethnic origin
- political opinions
- religious or philosophical beliefs
- trade union membership
- physical or mental health
- sex life or sexual orientation
- genetic information
- biometric information