Ethics and Privacy Quick Scan: FAQ

Does the Quick Scan provide ethical approval? 

No, not yet. It provides a way to rapidly assess whether your research is low-risk or requires a full ethics review or privacy assessment. If an ethics review is required for external reasons (e.g. funding obligations), you are still advised to use the ethics review by the Ethics Board. However, when the Quick Scan does not provide any warnings, you can add “The Ethics and Privacy Quick Scan of the Utrecht University Research Institute of Information and Computing Sciences classified this research as low-risk with no fuller ethics review or privacy assessment required” to publications and theses.

Who needs to complete the Quick Scan?

You need to complete the Quick Scan if you conduct research as:

  • a member of staff of the Department of Information and Computing Sciences at Utrecht University
  • a Ph.D. student based in this department
  • a student for a bachelor’s or master’s thesis for a degree associated with this department or supervised by staff from this department
  • a student conducting research as part of a course coordinated by the department when the course coordinator has made this compulsory.

When do I need to complete the Quick Scan?

  • You need to complete the Quick Scan for each new research study (or set of studies). It is recommended that you read the Quick Scan Word document at the start of your research, so that you know what study design decisions may have an impact on ethics and privacy.
  • Please read the guidance provided for the kind of researcher you are, as this also provides detail on when to complete it. 

What happens with the supervisor/course coordinator's name and email I provide?

If you conduct the research as a bachelor/master/Ph.D. student, your supervisor automatically receives a copy of the report and outcome. This ensures they know the Quick Scan has been completed and enables them to support you if a fuller ethics review or privacy assessment is required, or if changes to the study design are warranted.

The Quick Scan produced warnings; can I no longer do my research?

If the Quick Scan produces warnings, one option is to reconsider your study design. If you complete the Quick Scan as a bachelor or master thesis student or as a student for a course, this is likely the best option as you have little time to conduct your research. If you are an independent researcher or Ph.D. student, you should have enough time to go through the fuller Ethics Review and/or Privacy Assessment. This requires more detail about your research than the Quick Scan and will take some weeks. The warnings will indicate study aspects that may raise concerns, and where possible you could make small changes. It is still likely that the research will be approved; it will just take more time to consider this fully.