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.

The LSE Research Ethics Policy and Code of Research Conduct form part of the School's over-arching Ethics Code. Students may find this 'Quick Guide to the Research Ethics Policy' helpful.

Research ethics policy and procedures

If your research involves human participants, or data relating to directly identifiable human subjects (whether living or recently deceased), complete an ethics review.

In most cases, where there are no significant ethical issues, this can be very straight-forward and you may be able to ‘self-certify’ your review form. Follow the step-by-step guide below. If you have any questions, contact Lyn Grove at

Step-by-step guide to ethics review and obtaining ethical approval:

  • read LSE Research Ethics Policy and Procedures
  • complete the checklist in Annex B
  • if you answered 'no' to all questions in the checklist, proceed to part II of Annex B: Self-certification/next steps. Submit this to your Head of Department, Research Centre Director, or their administrations as appropriate
  • if you answered 'yes' to question 7 in the checklist, i.e. that your research will be subject to ethics review by an external (non-LSE) ethics committee, email the completed checklist to and submit your research to the appropriate external body for ethics approval. Once ethics approval is granted, send a copy of the approval letter together with any relevant documentation to for the records of the LSE Research Ethics Committee (REC)
  • if you answered 'yes' or 'not certain' to any other questions, complete the Research Ethics Review Questionnaire (part III of the form). Once complete, if you are wholly assured that adequate safeguards in relation to the ethical issues raised can and will be put in place, the member of staff (or student and their supervisor) should sign the form, and submit it to the Head of Department, Research Centre Director, or their administrations as appropriate. If concerns remain regarding the issues raised, return the form to for approval by the LSE Research Ethics Committee. Check the timeframe for Research Ethics Committee decision-making. If you have a specific deadline which needs to be met please let us know.
  • Note that  applications relating to the following kinds of research will need to be reviewed by the Research Ethics Committee (and should therefore be submitted to 
    (i) 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
    (ii) Research which involves or may lead to the publication of confidential information
    (iii) 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.
    Where there is doubt, advice should be sought from the Research Governance Manager and/or the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee (via

Informed consent guidance

Please see the LSE guidance on Informed Consent. You may like to use this sample participant information sheet and consent form as a template.  Further information can also be found on the Library’s webpages on data management and informed consent.

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

Annual statement of research intergrity, 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. Researcher safety guidance and who to contact.

Training and support

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

  • Research ethics workshop (part of MY530) -  this workshop is run by Dr Jen Tarr, Methodology Department, and is open to PhD students. the next session will be held on Friday 23rd November, 10.00-12.00 and 13.30-15.30, in the PhD Academy. Details can be found on Moodle. Registration will be available 2 weeks beforehand.

    Session details: Ethical considerations are a key element of well-designed research. Set out the fundamental principles of research ethics in the social sciences as they apply to PhD research projects.  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 details

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

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

Further ethics guidance


Further guidance


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