Ethical review of educational research

The Centre for Academic Teaching and Learning encourages faculty to conduct enquiry of their own education. Academic teachers may conduct research by collecting data to evaluate their education and monitor effects of their approaches or interventions. By sharing the results and insights gained from these structural evaluations they contribute to practical educational knowledge within a specific context, this is referred to as Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Teachers may also conduct (discipline- specific) educational research with the aim to contribute to the general knowledge-base of education, outside their own educational context.

Like all research, SoTL and (discipline-based) educational research requires ethical review. An important element in ethical review is data protection. All teachers should realize that collecting and storing data on their students, teachers or other human subjects, should adhere to data privacy law. Among other this requires that subjects must be provided with detailed information about what will happen to the personal data that are being collected. It also requires that data are properly protected, minimized, and destroyed when no longer needed. As rule of thumb: as soon as data are collected beyond routine data, or data from different sources are being combined, ethical review is likely to be due.

Address timely: obtain permission before the start of data collection

Ethical approval should always be obtained prior to the start of a study. Teachers should address the review request within their own faculty. When multiple UU faculties are involved approval from one faculty, the main faculty from which the research will be conducted, suffices. Note that when institutions outside UU are also involved, multiple approvals might be due, check with the review board of each institution. Below we direct teachers to the review board for their respective faculties. Note that this does not concern research with patients: patient-research should always be reviewed by Medical Ethical Research Boards (METC’s).

Note that also increasingly peer-reviewed journals require that approval by an ethical review board was obtained before accepting publications on human subject data.

Where to submit: ethical review board per faculty

All faculties of Utrecht University have an ethical review board for research involving human subjects. Some have a long existing tradition, others have been installed more recently: as from 2018 all UU faculties are obliged to have an ethical review board for research with human subjects. For further information about rules and submission see below the links to the reviews board for each faculty.

Ethical review of educational research should be submitted to (login with SolisID):

Faculty of Humanities

Faculty of Geosciences

Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance

Faculty of Science

Faculty of Medicine

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine