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Have you sought ethical approval/exemption?


‘Research Ethics is an area concerned with the protection of humans participating in research projects,

which may include surveys, questionnaires, interviews and focus groups to name but a few. The ethical

review will also help protecting the researcher and the good name of the university in case of the

unlikely litigation. It is mandatory that all research conducted in UCD or by UCD staff or students that involve humans is

ethically reviewed and approved by the UCD Human Research Ethics Committee. All researchers must

adhere to the UCD Code of Good Practice in Research’. UCD Office of Research Ethics (2014)


The key ethical issues in relation to accessing students and/or staff for teaching and learning research purposes (Boyes, 2013) are:

 key ethical issues


If you are carrying out research on teaching and learning you need to read the material on the UCD Office of Research Ethics website. A few key points in relation to teaching and learning research:

  • If you are doing research on UCD students to put into the public domain, you need ethical approval 
  • If it is standard educational practices, it may fall under one of the criteria for ‘ethical exemption’ see, but you still need to fill in this form.
  • You need to get approval before you gather the data.
  • Common dilemmas in this area are: use of control groups where one group is purposively denied a known beneficial intervention; researchers who are also the students’ assessors; inadvertent identification of participants. For more information of these see Boyes, 2013 and contact UCD Ethics Office for clarification on these issues.
  • Recommend you attend the UCD Research Ethics sessions and/or one-to-one advice, for more details contact

Sample Information Sheet and Student Consent form for Interview/focus groups? are presented here, they would need to be adapted to cover any research aims and ethical issues you identify in your study.

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