Research Ethics

Guidance on LSE research ethics, code of research conduct, and training

The Research Ethics Policy aims to promote a culture within the School whereby researchers conscientiously reflect on the ethical implications of their research.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak researchers need to find alternative ways to conduct any face-to-face data collection such as interviews, especially if these were due to involve travel. All research involving human participants should now be conducted remotely. Alternatives could include conducting interviews by using Skype, MS Teams, or using online surveys, etc., or switching to using secondary data. Taught students should refer to our guidance on how to conduct primary research online. A version for PhD students and staff can be found here.
Please see the LSE COVID-19 guidance for research and consulting activities which includes an FAQs page for research activities. 
Government advice on research with participants can be found here.
Please contact the research ethics team if you have any questions. 


The LSE Research Ethics Policy and Code of Research Conduct form part of the School's over-arching Ethics Code.
For students: please see this one-page 'Research ethics review in a nutshell'

Research ethics procedure: Step-by-step guide

Research involving humans

Does your research involve human participants or data relating to directly identifiable human subjects (living or recently deceased)?

If so, complete an ethics review.

Ethics review

Applications relating to the following kinds of research will need to be reviewed by the Research Ethics Committee. Please submit your application for review to

  • Research involving deception of participants, or that is intentionally conducted without their full and informed consent at the time the study is carried out or when the data are gathered.
  • Research which involves or may lead to the publication of confidential information.
  • Research involving more than minimal risk of harm to participants, for instance arising from: 
    • research involving vulnerable groups
    • research involving sensitive topics
    • research where the permission of a gatekeeper is required for initial access to participants (where there this might unduly influence participants to take part in the research)
    • research which would induce unacceptable psychological stress, anxiety or humiliation or cause more than minimal pain

Check the Research Ethics Committee review time-frame


Please email Lyn Grove:



Informed consent guidance

See our 'What is consent?' to understand the difference between consent in terms of ethics versus consent for data protection purposes

See the LSE guidance on Informed Consent which includes a sample participant information sheet and consent form you can use as a template.

Further guidance can also be found on the Library's  data management and informed consent page

Code of Research Conduct, and procedures for the investigation of research misconduct

Policies and procedures

The policies and procedures for the investigation of research misconduct are now incorporated within the School's Code of Research Conduct.

Staff and students should also refer to the LSE Whistleblowing Policy (Public Interest Disclosure).

Annual statement of research integrity, 2018-19

Annual statement of research integrity, 2017-18

Annual statement of research integrity, 2016-17

US-funded research

LSE has incorporated the following into its policies and procedures: Statement on Dealing with Allegations of Research Misconduct under United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Research-related Activities for Foreign Institutions.

Researcher safety

Researcher safety encompasses a variety of issues, including health, travel, and protection from legal sanctions.
In the first instance researchers should refer to the guidance on Fieldwork, overseas travel and off site activities.

We also recommend you refer to the SRA Code of practice for the Safety of social researchers

Fieldwork training: The PhD Academy run the following sessions, which are open to early career researchers and Masters students too if spaces allow:

Travel Safety and Security Training – 24 January 2020
Personal Safety and Security Training (2 days) – 13 & 14 February 2020
First Aid in the Field – 9 March 2020

For details please contact the PhD Academy

Training and support

  • All students - contact your department to ask what research ethics and integrity training is available in your department. For questions regarding the training and support outlined below contact

  • Masters and undergraduate students - training sessions are run occasionally within LSE LIFE. Refer to their schedule of events.

  • PhD students - the PhD Academy hosts a monthly series of topical issues in research ethics. PhD students can also access research ethics training via the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network (BPSN). See also details of MY530 and SRA training below.

  • All staff and students - are welcome to attend ‘Research ethics, data management and data protection’ drop-in surgeries with any questions you have. Sessions are held weekly in LSE LIFE, Thursdays from 4-5pm.
    *Due to the coronavirus epidemic  these sessions are currnetly not running on campus. However we are very happy to respond to queries by email and, where necessary, we can arrange a phonecall or virtual meeting. Please contact us by email in the first instance. 

  • Research ethics workshop (part of MY530) -  this workshop is run by Dr Ellie Knott, Methodology Department, and is open to PhD students. 
    Session details: Ethical considerations are a key element of well-designed research. The session will discuss standard topics such as informed consent, deception, and confidentiality as well as newer issues such as ethics relating to video, photographs and digital media. In the second part of this session, we will look at practical examples of ethical problems. You are welcome to bring for discussion any ethical issues you are facing in your research.

    Next session date: TBC. See Moodle for further details

  • The Social Research Association (SRA) run a range of training courses, some of which include research ethics related issues. 

  • Fieldwork training: please see details of training avilable under the 'Researcher safety' tab above

If you have any questions regarding training, get in touch with Lyn Grove

Further ethics guidance



Further guidance


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