Many areas of psychological research rely on collecting data from human participants. It is essential that any research carried out in the department has satisfied ethical requirements and all such work carried out in the department must be approved by the Departmental Ethics Committee. The following information has most relevance for students seeking ethical approval for project work. 


You will not be able to start data collection on your project unless and until you have ethical approval from the relevant university ethics committee.

For students on taught courses there are, essentially, three kinds of routes to gaining ethical approval :-

  1. If you intend to run any form of behavioural experiment on humans then you will need to apply to the Departmental Ethics Committee and the information and forms provided here are relevant to this particular route. 
  2. If you intend to test non-human animals then ethical approval is provided by the Ethics Committee in the Biology Department. Dr Katie Slocombe will be able to advise on how to go about this.
  3. If you intend to run an experiment at YNiC then you will need to approach your supervisor who will be able to provide the necessary advice about how to gain ethical approval from the YNiC ethics committee.

In some cases it is possible to run EEG/tDCS studies in the department even though, typically, these are carried out in YNiC. If you are intending to do this then you need to follow the instructions contained on this page.

The process

  • Step 1 - It is important to read and digest the current Departmental Guidelines. A link is provided in the next section below.
  • Step 2 - A link to the form that you will need to fill in and submit to the committee to seek ethical approval for your project is provided below. If you intend to complete a group project then someone will need to take the lead and fill in all the required information. However, all members of the group will need to sign the form. 
  • Step 3 - Forward the form to your supervisor as your supervisor will need to sign off on the application.
  • Step 4 - Submit the forms via this link:

As will become clear, special cases are those that involve :-

  1. testing children and/or vulnerable adults
  2. making audio, visual and/or audio visual recordings 
  3. deception

The committee will closely scrutinise these case and (in cases 1 and 2) you will need to submit additional consent and/or information forms when you submit your application.

Other cases that are likely to exercise the committee (the list is not exhaustive) are :-

  • cases where the testing is not of current undergraduates
  • cases where the testing is to be carried out off site
  • cases where the intention is to carry out testing over the internet

To expedite the process and to help the committee concentrate on the sensitive cases you should alert the committee to anything that you take to be a sensitive issue.

On your application form, you (and your supervisor) are invited to draw the attention of the committee to your case if you think it raises sensitive issues.

Applications are processed at fixed times throughout the year. You will be provided with key dates when these become available and you will be notified of the committee's decisions as soon as possible after the committee has considered all the relevant applications.

To be clear you cannot start data collection unless and until you have the requisite ethical approval.

Links to additional forms, links etc.

Useful links and forms

A link to the current Ethical guidance can be found here.

The current template for UG ethics approval and for students on taught post-graduate courses can be downloaded from **here**

The template for the ethics form includes templates for information sheets and consent forms that can be used when testing non-vulnerable adults online or in person. If you are planning to test another group (e.g., children) or if you are planning to record your participants or use EEG, please also complete and submit the corresponding information sheet and consent forms that can be found below:

Links to external ethics guidance can be found here for the BPS and for the ESRC.

Finally a link to the university's own guidance can be found here.

A brisk (ppt) intro to Ethics 101 can be found here

Special cases

It may well be possible to provide early ethical approval for undergraduate applications if some of the project work must take place over the summer period. If this is the case, then it is important to contact your superviosr as soon as possible and make sure that the correct forms are filled in, signed and submitted.

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