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Research ethics and integrity

Edinburgh Law School is committed to enabling research of the highest quality – from conception, to conduct, to completion and impact. It expects its staff and students to design the most ethical and effective research, and to pursue that research in the most ethical and sensitive manner.

People studying in library

All research carried out by members of Edinburgh Law School, including postgraduate dissertation projects and doctoral research, are subject to ethics procedures, which are designed in line with the provisions of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science (CAHSS) Research Ethics Framework and emergent practice in the UK scholarly community.

Edinburgh Law School has constituted a Research Ethics and Integrity Committee (REIC) as a sub-committee of the Research Committee, to which it reports. Issues that are especially difficult, or which raise new questions for policy, may be discussed by the Research Committee as a whole.

The REIC is made up of a number of staff members across all subject areas. The group meets once per semester to review progress and address any changes that have been made to College/University procedures, and regularly interacts via correspondence. The REIC is supported by a Senior Research Support Administrator in the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office.

The REIC’s role in the approval process is one of methodological peer review. All applications will be reviewed by members of the REIC. All applications which require level two approval or higher will each be reviewed by two members of the REIC. The REIC aims to give a response within 1 working week.

Edinburgh Law School ethics review procedures consist of a risk-calibrated 3-level approach. In all cases, investigators should undertake ethics self-assessment using a Level 1 Form to consider whether their proposed research raises any ethics issues.

Where the Level 1 Form confirms potential risk, Level 2 procedures will be followed, under which the research project will be subject to a more detailed self-assessment by the investigators, using a Level 2 Form and having reference to appropriate professional guidelines, which will then be reviewed by Senior Research Support Administrator and potentially one or members of the REIC. Cases deemed to be potentially problematic (Level 3) will be discussed in full by the REIC.

Edinburgh Law School staff and students may access the Research Ethics Wiki page.

Research Ethics Wiki (EASE log-in required)

Any queries about research ethics and integrity at Edinburgh Law School should be sent to