Research Environment and Governance

Research governance can be defined as a process which sets standards for research, defines mechanisms to deliver standards and describes monitoring and assessment arrangements. It encompasses a broad range of regulations, principles and standards of good practice that exist to achieve, and continuously improve, research quality across all areas of research. It includes areas such as research ethics, research integrity and research data management.

Research Ethics (for Research Involving Human Participants):

Research ethics might be defined as a set of principles about how researchers and research organisations should conduct themselves when dealing with human participants in their research, other researchers and colleagues, the users of their research and society in general.

Human participants are defined as including:
  • living human beings

  • human beings who are recently deceased (cadavers, human remains, and body parts)

  • embryos and foetuses

  • human tissue and bodily fluids

  • human data and records - such as, but not restricted to, medical, genetic, financial, personnel, criminal, or administrative records and test results including scholastic achievements

All University research involving human participants is subject to ethical approval.

This includes research undertaken by:

  • academic and research staff

  • research degree candidates

  • undergraduate and postgraduate students

‘Research’ here is defined as any form of disciplined inquiry that aims to contribute to a body of knowledge or theory.

Ethical approval is not required for routine audits, performance reviews, quality assurance studies, testing within normal education requirements, and literary or artistic criticism.

Ethical approval must be obtained before research commences - if you are planning a research project involving human participants, ethical issues should be considered early in the planning process and approval sought in good time before the start of the project.

Use the online form to apply for ethics approval.

We run a series of workshops on various aspects of ethics:

Research Ethics in Practice (non NHS)

The Research Ethics in Practice session is a must for all supervisors who sign off ethics applications. It provides an introduction to some core issues in research ethics, with a focus on informed consent, research involving vulnerable participants and confidentiality among other issues. It also provides an overview of the ethics review processes at Leicester.

Managing Research Ethics for Ethics Committee Members

The Managing Research Ethics for Ethics Committee Members session offers an overview of the research governance context and the role of ethics committees, looking specifically at its mandate, how it comes to decisions to assess and evaluate applications, and good practice in communicating outcomes to applicants for research ethics approval. The session will also provide a short preview of the new ethics processes being rolled out across the University of Leicester.

Ethical Issues in Research with Children and Young People

The Ethical Issues in Research with Children and Young People session focuses on social science research, though it will cover both qualitative and quantitative methods. It provides insights into issues such as ethical symmetry, research with ‘new’ technologies (like mobile phones and GPS), adult-child power relations, and children’s participation in the research process.

Ethics and Online Research

Here you will find an overview of some of the ethical challenges presented by the Internet and related new media technologies. The Ethics and Online Research session will engage with the relationship between online and offline research; the roles and responsibilities of scholars entering into online domains for the purposes of research; and the move from general ethical principles to localised ethical decision-making in online research.

NHS Research in the University

The NHS Research in the University session offers an overview of the processes required for all NHS research that happens within, the University and an understanding of why these processes are important. It also offers practical advice on the sponsorship process, including what requires a sponsor, the sponsorship application and review process, as well as approval and post-approval considerations.

Research Integrity

Research integrity may be defined as active adherence to the ethical principles and professional standards essential for the responsible practice of research.
These include:

  1. Honesty and fairness in proposing, performing, and reporting research;

  2. Accuracy and fairness in representing contributions to research proposals and reports;

  3. Proficiency and fairness in peer review;

  4. Collegiality in scientific interactions, communications and sharing of resources;

  5. Disclosure of conflicts of interest;

  6. Protection of human subjects in the conduct of research;

  7. Humane care of animals in the conduct of research;

  8. Adherence to the mutual responsibilities of mentors and trainees.

Research Data Management (RDM)

RDM is not a single issue, it presents many challenges and raises many questions throughout the research lifecycle, from the moment an idea forms to the completion of research, publication, and subsequent use of findings to inform sharing of ideas and stimulate new research. RDM applies across all disciplines (American Studies to Zoology) and to many forms of research data for example interview notes, survey data, lab notebooks, text corpora. The Research Data Management website provides an overview of what this means for you, as a researcher, as well as key templates to help you create your data management plan, a requirement now with most research funders.

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Research Essentials Online

Research Essentials Online
Explore a suite of interactive resources and live discussions at Research Essentials Online.

Contact the Doctoral College Team:

For all enquiries regarding quantitative methods training please contact the Doctoral College Team on