Researchers who are affiliated with the university and who want to conduct academic research should adhere to ethical standards outlined below. Any research involving human participants and use of personal data should apply to the ethics committee of the university. Students who are not sure if they should obtain ethics approval form before conducting their research should consult their supervisors. Faculty members and supervisors are encouraged to consult the relevant ethical policies of the university and the relevant ethics board of their graduate school. Due to nuances in each discipline, ethics board of each graduate school is responsible for setting out their own ethical guidelines for employees and students. However, the University expects each graduate school to respect the following general policies of the University:
- Researchers should consult the relevant ethics committee of their graduate school when not sure about applying for ethical approval.
- If unforeseen ethical risks arise during research, researchers should consult the ethics board of their graduate school and if needed, they should reapply to the University’s ethics committee.
- Researchers should ensure that the possible harm to human and animal participants is minimised. They should also consider the potential impact of their research on the environment and take all necessary protective precautions. Researchers should consult the ethical committee of their graduate school regarding specific guidelines.
- Participants have the right to withdraw from participation and deny access to any personal data at any time during research. In such cases, data collected from these participants cannot be used in the proposed research and should be discarded.
- An informed consent form is required for all participants (depending on the research field, consent can be obtained in written or verbal form). In case the researcher will not be able to obtain one, they should report this in their ethical approval application form with appropriate reasons.
- Informed consent form should state the purpose and procedures which will be applied during the data gathering process and subsequent publication and dissemination of data. Participants have the right to deny publication of their data. Researchers explain the nature of deception that is a common trait of experiments conducted with humans to participants as early as is feasible (e.g. after the experiment is finished).
- In cases where incentives will be provided in return for participation in research, researchers must make sure that they are not excessively or unduly provided.
- Unless the researcher obtains consent from participants (in written or verbal form) to reveal their names, confidentiality of the participants should be strictly protected and anonymity should be primary practice during the publication process.
- Researchers should make sure that their relationships with potential participants do not include any conflicts of interest. In cases where such conflicts of interest are anticipated, researchers should indicate this in their ethical approval application form and make sure that the participants are not adversely affected by their participation in the proposed research project. Each ethical board of the graduate school is required to define conflict of interest and provide examples which might occur in their research field.
- Researchers should comply with ethical standards when recording voices and/or images or collecting data available through the social media. If in doubt, researchers should consult the ethical board of their graduate school to determine if they need permission from the owners of the data.
- Researchers who want to obtain data from minors (participants below the age of 18 at the time of the data collection) are required to obtain permissions from their parents/legal guardians. Permissions will also need to be obtained from official organisations where data will be collected from the minors attending the organisation.
- Research requiring ethical review must not begin without full approval. This is a mandatory requirement of the University and conducting research without such approval constitutes misconduct. The University takes no responsibility, financial or otherwise, in such cases. Please also be aware that ethical approval is never granted retrospectively. You can only use data collected after ethical approval has been granted. Any data collected before this must not be used. The University does not take any responsibility for researchers who do not make the necessary applications and receive the approval of the relevant ethics committee on time.
Important Note: If your proposed study includes any activities that might impact human, animan or environmental health, then please direct your application to the Graduate School of Health Sciences. If you are not sure about whether your study has such an impact/activity, please contact the ethics committee of the graduate school you are affiliated with.
Following documents have been consulted while preparing this document:
- Cambridge University’s Policy on the Ethics of Research Involving Human Participants and Personal Data http://www.research-integrity.admin.cam.ac.uk/sites/www.research-integrity.admin.cam.ac.uk/files/policy_on_the_ethics_of_research_involving_human_participants_and_personal_data_oct_2015.pdf (Accessed 27.02.2017).
- University of Cambridge’s ethics application form http://www.cshss.cam.ac.uk/research-ethics-approval/proforma/view (Accessed 08.03.2017).
- American Psycology Association’s Ethical Guidelines for Research (APA 8.0) –http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/ (Accessed 27.02.2017)
- Middle East Technical University’s Ethics Committee Policy http://sbe.metu.edu.tr/ethics-committee (Accessed 27.02.2017)
- King’s College London Research Ethics – https://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/warstudies/handbook/programmesteaching/research-ethics.aspx (Accessed 08.03.2017)
- King’s College London – Applying for Ethical Clearance http://www.kcl.ac.uk/innovation/research/support/ethics/applications/MR-scheme.aspx (Accessed 08.03.2017)