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.

COVID-19 update

In line with the current social distancing restrictions due to COVID-19, fieldwork involving any face-to-face data collection (such as interviews, focus groups, etc.) will need to be paused or alternative methods arranged (e.g. conducting interviews using video conference platforms, using online surveys, etc.). 

Guidance on conducting primary research online
Click here for the guidance for researchers
Click here for the guidance for taught Masters students

In-person data collection request
If you feel the data collection in the country where the research is due to take place can be safely resumed (either by yourself or by local research assistants/enumerators, etc.), please contact the Research Ethics Committee via research.ethics@lse.ac.uk providing a brief rationale. Click here for a template with the points to address in the request. In all cases a risk assessment will also need to be completed (as the School has a duty of care where 3rd parties are being engaged).

Approval for travel
Note that any travel for fieldwork purposes currently requires approval by SMC. Please complete and submit the Notification to Travel form in the usual way. If you have any questions relating to travel or the risk assessment process, please contact the Health and Safety team.

Further guidance
Please see the LSE COVID-19 guidance for research and consulting activities for further details and FAQs.

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Research Ethics Policy and Code of Research Conduct

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.ethics@lse.ac.uk

  • 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

Questions?

Please email Lyn Grove: research.ethics@lse.ac.uk

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 / 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 master's 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 research.ethics@lse.ac.uk.

  • Master's 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 pandemic  these sessions are currently 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 available 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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