Ethics and Research Resources

Ethics and Research Resources

All experiments conducted in the School of Psychology or by researchers based in the School require ethical agreement in order to protect volunteers' interests and to ensure that the highest possible standards are adhered to. 

Links below provide information relating to research ethics, including documents necessary for obtaining ethical agreement.  

Online Worktribe Ethics – Apply via the link below:

Ethics Committee Remit Statement

The committee reviews and provides advice on research ethics for all research projects carried out in the School of Psychology, including undergraduate, postgraduate and staff projects. All research and all teaching exercises involving human participants and their data which is conducted under the auspices of the School must have received approval by the PEC (even if ethical approval has been given by some other institution).

Our research ethics policy and procedures are designed to ensure detailed scrutiny of all research projects conducted in the School. PEC does not review applications from researchers out with the University of Aberdeen. However, where an application falls clearly with the research remit of the School of Psychology, we will consider applications from other schools within the University of Aberdeen.  

This committee broadly follows the British Psychological Society (BPS) Code of Ethics and Conduct and the BPS Code of Human Research Ethics in their consideration of applications for ethical approval and ensures that research is conducted in compliance within the GDPR. The committee may occasionally raise additional issues for researchers to consider, in the interests of good practice, especially when conducting research with vulnerable groups.

Ethics Proformas and Resources


When making an online ethics application you will normally need to upload a series of documents (e.g., Consent, Instruction, and Debrief forms).  To help you prepare these we have made available a set of proformas:



Research In Schools

A certain procedure is to be followed to apply for ethics to conduct research in schools. Procedural guidelines can be downloaded below, along with required proformas. 

Researchers working in schools will require a Disclosure or PVG (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) check. Disclosure Scotland is a part of a Scottish Government agency that performs checks on an individual's background (convictions, offences) to ascertain whether they should be prohibited from working with children or particular adult groups. The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) (Scotland) Act amounts to a registration system for all those who work with children and protected adults.

A disclosure or PVG check can take 2 weeks, providing no further enquiries are involved.

There are a number of points you should bear in mind, particularly if you are planning to work with protected groups (e.g. as part of a student research project).

  • Disclosure obtained through the University only covers access to individuals within the University.
  • External public and private organisations may require you to obtain a disclosure certificate in order to work there. This is site-specific disclosure and applies to most, if not all, schools.
  • Non-UK nationals will require additional disclosure from their homeland. This may be a time-consuming process. In cases where this is not possible, it may actually preclude involvement with particular groups. Planning of undergraduate thesis work is essential.
  • Individuals are required to notify their Disclosure 'site' (employer, place of access) of changes in their circumstances that could affect their right to access protected groups.
  • At August 2010, an enhanced disclosure check costs £23. The Operations Manager for Disclosure Scotland has stated that "It is a matter for agreement between applicant and organisation as to who will be responsible for any fee payable." Normally, the student will pay this fee.

The following information might be useful to you:


Ethics and the NHS

If your work involves NHS staff, patients, tissue, resources or facilities, then you need to apply to the UK-wide Standard NHS National Research Ethics Service (NRES). This is done through the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS). Currently, NRES accepts and reviews applications before passing them to your local research ethics committee; in our case this is North of Scotland Research Ethics Service (NoSRES). See the CSO website for more information.

Additional Ethics Documents and Links

Here are some useful additional documents and links related to Ethics.


Participant Payment Advice

We advise that participant payments are in line with the UK regulations on renumeration:, between the levels for those aged 18-20 (the National Minimum Wage) and for those aged 23+ (the National Living Wage). These figures change on 1st April each year. When estimating the amount to pay for face-to-face studies, please allow time for any setting up that might need to take place once the participant has arrived (e.g. for EEG studies). Also remember that some people (particularly older adults) may take much longer to complete tasks.