LLC Research Ethics Checklist

The purpose of this form is to help staff and student researchers decide whether or not their research requires further formal ethics review via the LLC Research Ethics Committee (REC).

The checklist should be completed by the Principal Investigator, except in the following cases:

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowships and Visiting Scholars - the applicant in collaboration with the proposed mentor/academic sponsor.
  • Postgraduate research (PhD and Masters by Research) – the student together with the supervisor/supervisory team.  
  • Taught Masters dissertation/project work and Undergraduate dissertation/project work – the student together with the supervisor.

Please scroll down the form and read the relevant guidance before you start completing the form. If you click on a link whilst you are completing the form, you are liable to lose the data already entered. To avoid this, you can copy/paste the URL into a new browser tab, or use Ctrl + Click to open the link in a new tab. You can also click 'Save Draft' at the bottom of the page to save your progress at any point.

If you have answered “Yes” to any of the above questions:

If you have answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, your research project is required to go through ethics review by the LLC Research Ethics Committee (REC). You are required to submit a “Research Ethics, Integrity and Governance Application” which can be found here:

Submitting applications for ethical review including link to application form | The University of Edinburgh

Applications should be submitted in a timely manner and in adherence to LLC guidelines. You should not undertake any research associated with this project until you have secured a favourable opinion (“approval”) from the LLC Research Ethics Committee.

If you have any ethics-related queries, please contact your local Subject Area Research Ethics Lead (SAREL) in the first instance. Details of who your SAREL is can be found here: Contacts | The University of Edinburgh.

If you have not answered “Yes” to any of the above questions:

If you have not answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, your research project is not required to go through ethics review by the LLC Research Ethics Committee (REC). You are not required to submit a “Research Ethics, Integrity and Governance Application.”

However, before beginning your research, please note the following:

  • Publishers are increasingly making requests for evidence of formal ethics review for publication. You should consider whether or not ethics review by a REC would be beneficial to the publication of your research.
  • If there is a change to your research which potentially raises new ethical issues, you should stop the research and re-assess whether or not ethics review by a REC is required.
  • There are research governance processes that are separate from research ethics. This Research Ethics Checklist does not ensure that research governance requirements are being fulfilled. Therefore, even where a research project does not require review by a REC, researchers should ensure that their research adheres to all University policies (where applicable) including but not limited to:


If your project requires the use of copyrighted material, please refer to Ethics and copyright. ‘use of’ here means for publication, be it screenshots of a film, a graph from a secondary source, or reproduction of text (prose, poetry, etc) which goes beyond fair dealing. ‘use of’ does not refer to analysis of copyrighted sources as part of the research (eg, research where poetry, novels or films are the primary sources).

Research data and materials storage

Researchers are responsible for ensuring that project data and/or project materials are stored securely to reduce the risk of their damage, loss, leakage or theft. For guidance on data storage, including OneDrive, DataStore, sensitive data storage and long-term data storage, please refer to: Data Protection, Data Management and UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) | The University of Edinburgh.

Collaborative research

Collaborative research includes research undertaken with another academic Institution or external partner; e.g., NGO, businesses, as well as field assistants and local researchers. It does not include company-sponsored dissertations. Please note that other University of Edinburgh students and/or supervisors are not considered collaborators.

Researchers must ensure that the correct permissions and agreements are in place if engaging in collaborative research. Please refer to UK Research and Innovation guidance: Our expectations for research collaboration – UKRI and University guidance: Research Contracts, Governance and Integrity Team | The University of Edinburgh.

Researchers involved with collaborative research projects, especially those collaborating internationally, are encouraged to engage with Ethical Action in Global Research: A toolkit: Home 2 | Ethics (

Researchers should bear in mind that besides a Data Management Plan for the research (and other data and UK GDPR-related requirements), other data-related agreements may be needed, such as a data transfer agreement. More information on data transfer can be found here: International data transfer | The University of Edinburgh.

Impact and Engagement (I&E)

You may not know at the outset of your project all of the I&E activities which you will run/be involved in. If you develop new plans, then you should consider them in light of the guidance on research ethics and KEI: “Research Ethics and Knowledge Exchange and Impact (KEI)”: Research Ethics and Impact & Engagement (I&E) | The University of Edinburgh and re-assess whether or not such activities need to go through ethics review by a REC.

Risk Assessments

Researchers should ensure that all Risk Assessments are completed where needed.

Travel Risk Assessment: this should be completed if the research project involves any travel, even within the UK (including any travel in Scotland outwith your normal commute to and from the University).

Fieldwork Risk Assessment: This should be completed if you are conducting any fieldwork, even on campus, in Edinburgh, or elsewhere in the UK.

Link to University Travel and Risk Assessments: Travel plan and Risk Assessments | The University of Edinburgh.


Researchers should ensure that they secure University insurance for any travel and/or fieldwork connected to their research project. Link to University Insurance: Travel insurance | The University of Edinburgh.

Hidden question fields
Does your research involve human participants, as defined above? *
Does your research involve personal data/information and/or data that has the potential to compromise the privacy of individuals? *
Does your research require sponsorship? *
Does your research involve confidential corporate data or information? *
Is it likely that your research will induce any psychological or physical harm in participants, researcher(s), and/or others? *
Is it likely that your research findings will adversely affect participants or particular groups of people? *
Is it likely that your research will adversely affect the environment or society? *
Your research project is commissioned by the military *
Your research project is commissioned under an EU security cell *
Your research project involves the acquisition of security clearances *
Your research project concerns groups which may be construed as terrorist or extremist *
Does your research involve any real or perceived conflict of interest? *
Does your research involve animals? *
Yes (please provide details below)No
To the best of your knowledge, does your research raise any other ethical issues which may require review by a Research Ethics Committee? *
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.