Guidance for Research Master thesis students

Ethics and privacy issues need to be considered when conducting research. You are therefore required to use the Ethics and Privacy Quick Scan as follows: 

  1. Raise your awareness of ethical and privacy issues to consider in your study design, by reading the Word version of the Quick Scan. Do this early, as using particular participants/data/topics raises more ethical and privacy concerns than others, which you should consider before deciding 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 (normally before your submission of Part 1), fill in the Quick Scan using the Word version. Discuss your answers and any issues with your supervisor. 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 with your answers, submit the Quick Scan using the Qualtrics version. The Quick Scan requires a moderator's email address; this should have been provided by the project coordinator. The moderator's email for the master Human-Computer Interaction:; Computer Science:; Game and Media Technology:; Business Informatics:; Artificial Intelligence: and Data Science:
  4. Possible follow-on if the Quick Scan finds:
    • No issues: you can start your research.  
    • Privacy and/or ethics issues found: 
      • If your supervisor already has ethical approval for a research line that fully covers your research design (as noted on your Quick Scan): you can start your research 
      • Otherwise: the moderator (a person assigned to this task for your program) will look at the answers you provided (where needed with advice from ethics and privacy experts). You should hear soon (normally within 10 working days) whether you can start or whether a chat with the data steward / a change to your research design / a full ethics review is needed. 
  5. Documentation
    • Add sentences about the Quick Scan in the method section of your Part 1 and thesis. For example: "The Ethics and Privacy Quick Scan of the Utrecht University Research Institute of Information and Computing Sciences was conducted (see Annex A)."
      • No issues found: "It classified this research as low-risk with no fuller ethics review or privacy assessment required.
      • Issues found:
        • Your supervisor already has ethical approval: "Whilst the Quick Scan identified issues, this project was allowed to proceed as it is covered fully by the ethical approval for my supervisor's research line (see Annex B).
        • Otherwise: "Whilst the Quick Scan identified issues, this project was allowed to proceed after additional human scrutiny (see approval email(s) in Annex C)". 
    • Add the anonymized Quick Scan report as an annex to your Part 1 and thesis  
    • In case the Quick Scan found issues: add any anonymized follow-on emails providing permission or a positive outcome of a full ethics review to your thesis as well.

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). In some cases, you will only decide on a second study after analyzing the results of the first one. In such a case, your second Quick Scan could happen whilst you are working on Part 2.  

Anonymization of the Quick Scan and follow-on emails in your reports 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, data steward where applicable.