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WARNING - the Computer Science ethics system is obsolete

Ethics projects which have already been submitted will be processed.

New projects WILL NOT be considered.

Use the central University Ethics system instead.

Welcome to Computer Science Ethics - Keep Calm

Keep Calm and Carry On!

Keep Calm!

In reality 'Research Ethics' are very simple rules of conduct, recognised by certain organisations, which can be applied to aspects of Computer Science evaluation. For Computer Science this really means 'good research methodology' (i.e. for research to be ethical, it must be good, otherwise it's wasting the participant's time.), and this resource will take you through the aspects of ethical approval you need to know, so keep calm and carry on!

Ethical procedures then (for you this means filling in a part completed online form), are often seen as a superfluous waste of time, or at best an activity in form filling, by most computer scientists. The ethical procedures that are required seem to be obtuse and unwieldy especially when there is little likelihood of danger, or negative outcomes, for the participants. Most practitioners reason that this is not, after all, a medical study or a clinical trial, there will be no invasive procedures or possibility of harm coming to a participant, so why do we need to undergo an ethical control?

This is entirely true for most cases within the Computer Science domain - and is almost certainly true for undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes. However, the ethical process is a critical component of good scientific design because it encourages the computer scientists to focus on the methodology and the analysis techniques to be used within that methodology; which they probably are not familiar with.

You should always remember that it is not the aim of the organisational or institutional ethical body to place unreasonable constraints on the computer scientists. But more properly, to make sure that the study-designers possess a good understanding of what methodological procedures will be carried out, how they will be analysed, and how these two aspects may impact the human participants.

With this said, lets us move on and address issues specific to you as a student, supervisor, researcher scientist, or Principle Investigator.

  1. Undergraduate Ethics: If you're an undergraduate student or you're supervising a final year project then have a look at this page which gives you details about what you need to think and about and how to make an application.
  2. Postgraduate (Taught) Ethics: If you're a postgraduate taught student, studying for say an MSc., or you're supervising an MSc project then have a look at this page which gives you details about what you need to think and about and how to make an application.
  3. Research Ethics: If you're a researcher, be that a PhD Student, Research Staff (Assistant / Associate / Fellow), or you're supervising a PhD student, or are a Principle Investigator, an Independent Scholar, or any other type of Researcher conducting work with human participants, then have a look at this page which gives you details about what you need to think and about and how to make an application.
  4. Supervisor / Staff Member: There are some issues that really only relate to supervisors and staff members and so if you are one of there, you should also have a look at this page, too.
  5. Principle Investigator / Independent Scholar / Other Researcher: There are some issues that really only relate to PIs CI's and the like, and so if you are one of there, you should also have a look at this page, too.
Creative Commons LicenceComputer Science Research Ethics - Human Participants by Simon Harper is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is based on a work at ethics.cs.manchester.ac.uk and is an Open Educational Resource.