Guidance for PhD students

This is a draft page for feedback and piloting purposes only. The processes described are currently under review, and the use of the Quick Scan by PhD students is not compulsory till this has been formally agreed upon. 

Ethics and privacy issues need to be considered when conducting research. You are strongly recommended to obtain ethical approval for your research line or individual studies through the Science-Geo Ethics Review Board, which also includes a privacy assessment by the faculty data steward. In addition, all PhD students of the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences (even when not conducting research with humans or human data) are required to use the Institute's Ethics and Privacy Quick Scan as follows: 

  1. Raise your awareness of ethical and privacy issues to consider in your research design, by reading the Word version of the Quick Scan. Do this early, as using particular participants/data/topics will raise more ethical and privacy concerns than others, which you should consider before you decide on your research questions. The Quick Scan may also help you when designing your research. 
  2. Fill in the Quick Scan and discuss it with your supervisor. While designing your research, fill in the Quick Scan using the Word version. Share it with your supervisor, and discuss your answers and any issues. If the Quick Scan gives warnings, change your design to avoid these warnings if possible.
  3. Submit the Quick Scan using Qualtrics. Once you and your supervisor are happy about your answers, submit the Quick Scan using the Qualtrics version
  4. Follow-on if the Quick Scan finds:
    • No issues: you can start your research.  
    • One privacy and/or ethics issue: somebody will look at the answers you provided. You should hear soon (normally within one working week) whether you can start your research or whether a chat with the data steward / a full ethics review is required.
    • Multiple issues: you will automatically be required to (1) talk with the data steward (they are notified and will get in touch with you) or (2) submit a full application to the Ethics Review Board. This does not mean that you cannot do your research, but it may cause some delay.
  5. Documentation. Keep a copy of the Quick Scan report plus any follow-on emails providing permission (in case the Quick Scan found an issue) and any full ethics review documentation, as you may want to use them in anonymized form in your thesis.   

Note 1: If you are conducting multiple studies, you can do a Quick Scan per study or for the set of studies (if the answers are similar).

Note 2: Anonymization of the Quick Scan and follow-on emails in your thesis involves removing personal details that are not yet included elsewhere in the thesis, such as your email address, your supervisor's email address, and personal details (name, personal email address) of the moderator, ethics person, and data steward where applicable.