Code of Practice on Investigations Involving Human Beings

main content


Investigations involving human beings as participants are undertaken in this University in the course of teaching and research. The University seeks to ensure that the conduct of all its staff and students carrying out such work, whether biological, psychological or sociological, conforms to standards set by professional bodies, and is known to do so.

The guidelines within the Code of Practice describe the overall principles and procedures by which the University makes ethical judgements on teaching and research investigations that involve human beings as participants. 


All University staff, associated staff, registered students and other investigators involved in University-related investigations are obliged to follow this Code of Practice.

The code covers:

  • All investigations conducted by University staff and students involving human beings, whether for research, teaching, student projects, or other educational purposes, and using any type of research methodology.
  • All investigations conducted on University property, through the University, or under the auspices of the University (including on sites external to the University and involving investigators from outside the University), that involve human beings as participants, including investigations which have been transferred from other organisations;
  • Collaborative investigations involving human participants carried out by University staff and students working with investigators who are not staff or students of the University, including data analysis where the data has been obtained by a collaborative body.

The code does not apply to:

  • Procedures undertaken as part of routine patient-care: advice should be sought from the relevant NHS body;
  • Research which involves only working from historical and literary databases and documents and does not involve working with ‘live’ participants;
  • Consultation with colleagues, experts or other stakeholders about the preparation or progress of an investigation, where those people do not contribute to the actual findings;
  • Work which is part of routine practices in professional contexts or service evaluation.


It is recognised that many student investigations and dissertations may fall within the remit of this code of practice. Courses, particularly within the social sciences and business subject areas, typically contain large numbers of students who may have made their own project proposals which are usually low risk from the ethical point of view.

Key Points of ethics procedure:

  • Students acting as investigators, and members of staff carrying out research as part of work towards obtaining a degree, should be under the supervision of a member of University Ordinance 16 staff.
  • Students, and members of staff in this position, cannot apply for ethical approval themselves.
  • Applications must be made by the supervisor acting, for this purpose, as Chief Investigator.
  • The supervisor, on behalf of the University, is responsible for all actions of the students relating to the investigation and hence it is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure than the student is aware of and observes the relevant guidelines and receives appropriate training in any procedures and techniques to be undertaken as part of the investigation.
  • As with all investigations 


For any questions please contact Ethics 


Code of Practice on Investigations involving Human Beings


Relevant Links

Here are additional links of interest

University Ethics Committee

Academic Policies & Procedures


All students