Research and Engagement

Research Ethics & Integrity

Rethinking Research Projects in Light of Covid-19 Situation - Ethical Considerations


College Resources - Rethinking Research Projects

The College Research Ethics Committee (CREC) have collated this document to provide a resource to support staff in undertaking their own research and supporting students in their ethical decision making, in light of the COVID-19 situation.  This document is not intended to be exhaustive, but to provide some guidance and signposting at this time when it is necessary to revise current or planned research projects.   The included information will be intermittently reviewed and edited.  We welcome additions from colleagues, and will further update as appropriate.

Scottish Government advice on undertaking research and knowledge exchange with human participants

The University continues to follow Scottish Government advice as applies to the sector and the procedures for undertaking research and knowledge exchange with human participants will continue to reflect these principles.  Any research, including face to face research activities with human participants, must be in harmony with the respective stages of the Scottish Government Route Map, and Scottish Government Guidance for Universities or similar national Public Health guidelines in other countries.   At present research-related activities are expected to continue to be undertaken using digital methods whenever possible. 

Guidance to support decision making on restarting research activities on the University campus

In some circumstances, starting or restarting research activities on the University campus may be viable, and institutional guidance to support this decision making is available on the ERO SharePoint page restarting research.  Additional CAHSS guidance has been developed to support decisions by researchers within the College: CAHSS specific restart guidance and restart appendices are available on the CRO SharePoint page.

General Institutional Resources

The Institute for Academic Development provides more general advice and training on good practice and conduct in research including data training, sustainability and ethics and integrity.

Guidance from Funders and Professional Bodies and Associations

Professional bodies for disciplines may also be updating existing guidance to govern the current situation and need to adapt face to face research.  ESRC has some guidance on Internet Mediated Research as does UK Research Integrity Office Internet Mediated Research .  The Association for Internet Researchers  is committed to ensuring that research on and about the internet is undertaken in an ethical way and has recently updated its own Internet Research: Ethical Guidelines together with a range of additional resources including a helpful chart for internet researchers to consider ethics.   The UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKDR) has provided supplementary guidance for the Practical Application of UKCDR Safeguarding Guidance During Covid-19. UKRI has also updated its site with covid-19 ethics guidance and best practice resources.

Recommended Checklist for Research Communities During the COVID-19 Pandemic. This new guidance is aimed at individuals and organisations performing research of any kind during a pandemic – helping them anticipate issues that may affect the quality and ethical standards of their research and think about how they might be addressed. The Checklist is applicable to all research disciplines, including but not limited to research on COVID-19 and related topics.