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School of Technology Research Ethics guidance

This site cannot provide guidance on the following types of research requiring specific approval at an early stage:

1. Researchers planning to undertake Medical or Clinical-related research must first consult the local committee of the NHS Research Ethics Service and contact the Clinical School research governance team for advice regarding legal and regulatory requirements.

This includes research involving the following:

  • NHS patients, staff or facilities, clinical procedures using human participants or data gathered from NHS patients, staff or institutions;
  • use of human tissues where an appropriate human tissue licence is not already in place to permit the research;
  • early-stage medical devices or standalone software and health apps that meet the definition of a medical device;
  • adults lacking the capacity to give informed consent.


2. Research involving biological materials and animals is subject to the Animals Scientific Procedures Act.

Research Involving People

Even where research questions are purely technological, the dignity, rights, health, safety or privacy of human participants may still be affected by research.

Please refer to the University Policy on the Ethics of Research Involving Human Participants and Personal Data 

The School of Technology provides guidance on the most common methods employed in technology research with human participants, including experiments, field studies, action research and surveys.

Please visit the relevant webpage for the below methods:

  • controlled experiments for technology evaluation
    • Typically involves recruiting participants from outside the research team, asking them to come to your office or laboratory, and collecting data while they perform experimental tasks that you have defined.
  • ethnographic and field study techniques
    • Typically research involves observing people in the place where they live or work, as they go about their normal activities.
  • action-based management research techniques
    • Research involving trying to change things in another organisation, most often through a consultancy-style arrangement.
  • survey methods
    • Where research involves collecting data from people with questionnaires or interviews.
  • data research
    • Research with data relating to living identifiable individuals.
  • release of instrumented software
    • Research involving releasing software that collects data about its usage.
  • diary and probe studies
    • Research involving asking people to collect information about their everyday lives.
  • collaborative and participatory design
    • Research involving recruiting people from outside the research team to contribute to design work.
  • Design for ageing and disability inclusion
    • Research concerned with the design of products for ageing and disability inclusion.


Other categories of research

If your research involves the participation of people outside the research team, but does not come into any of the categories above, please contact us