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Ethics Codes and Guidelines

There are so many codes and guidelines that it can be difficult to locate one that is ‘fit for YOUR purpose’. We try here to guide you towards appropriate set of guidelines that might be linked to the topic of the research you are interested in or the methods linked to that research. There is a distinction between ‘codes’ and ‘guidelines’ but, for convenience, we refer to them all here as ‘guides’. The guides listed her are ones we find particularly helpful.



Before going any further you may find what you are looking for in the best single source of ethics codes and guidelines at:

Ethics code collection

This is a global repository of ethics codes and guidelines housed at the Centre for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, in the Illinois Institute of Technology.
It is updated on a regular basis.


The International Compilation of Human Research Standards from the Office for Human Research Protections, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The International Compilation of Human Research Standards in a downloadable PDF is a listing of over 1,000 laws, regulations, and guidelines on human subjects protections in 131 countries and from many international organizations.
Most of the listings provide hyperlinks to the source document.



The TRUST Project

The goal of the TRUST Project is to catalyse a global collaborative effort to improve adherence to high ethical standards around the world, to avoid ‘ethics dumping’ from wealthy to less-wealthy societies, and to advocate fair research practices internationally. It incorporates the SAN code of ethics which offers a model for fair research practices with indigenous peoples. There is also a ‘Global Code of Conduct’ to encourage fair research and a toolkit for ‘Fair Research Commissioning’

Technological Responsibility. Guidelines for a shared governance of the process of socialization of scientific research and innovation, within an interconnected world“, 2011. SetDev – Science, Ethics and Technology Responsibility in Developing and Emerging Countries.

These guidelines are the result of dialogue and cooperation between representatives of three major scientific cultures of the contemporary world: European, Indian and African. The Guidelines are intended to be a practical contribution about how to promote effective collective responsibility in science and technology. In doing so, this text offers information, based on the SET-DEV three-year experience, on the social fabric of science, and suggestions on how scientific and technological research can be better integrated into society and be more relevant to society’s needs.


Research Ethics in Ethnography/Anthropology

The European Commission,DG Research and Innovation, 2013

This Report was commissioned by the Ethics Unit B6, DG Research and Innovation. It was mainly aimed at members of ethics review committees or panels who might not be so directly familiar with the methods regularly adopted by ethnographers and anthropologists. It was intended to help them fairly and accurately assess the ethics of qualitative research proposals. There is nothing ‘new’ here to such researchers but novice qualitative researchers might find the report of help in planning ethical qualitative research.

AAA offers a website with useful guides to good/responsible ‘professional practice’ together with a regular blog on some of the contentious issues facing this kind of research.

Video/podcasts each for undergraduates, graduates/junior professionals, and IRB members.


The Population Council

The Population Council conducts research to address critical health and development issues. They conduct research and programs in more than 50 countries. The Council aims to give voice and visibility to the world’s most vulnerable people, increase awareness of the problems they face and offer evidence-based solutions.
They have useful guidelines on research with children and young people:

The NCB guidelines were produced for researchers contemplating involving children and young people (CYP) in their research project – whether as subjects/participants or in a more active role. The guidelines set out NCB Research Centre’s general approach to research with CYP and provide practical guidance for the researcher, through all stages of the research process from planning to dissemination.


The NDA have comprehensive guidelines on research with people with disability:

And specific advice and guidance on research with children with disability:


Navigating towards shared responsibility in Research and Innovation Approach, process and Results of the Res-Agora Project“.

The project has co-constructed a good-practice governance framework with practitioners and strategic decision-makers – the “Responsibility Navigator” –, which facilitates reflective processes involving multiple stakeholders and policy-makers with the generic aim of making European research and innovation more responsible, responsive, and sustainable. The Navigator was conceived as a means to provide orientation for governance without normatively steering research and innovation in a specific direction.

GREAT – Governance for Responsible innovation. Guidelines for Responsible research and innovation“, 2016 .

These guidelines explain what RRI is, and how it can help research to support innovation in delivering a future that is inclusive, healthy and sustainable. The guidelines are an output of the GREAT Project. They offer practical pointers for the actions and activities of a range of interest groups and complement the framework for practitioners and strategic decision-makers, and the ‘Responsibility Navigator’ developed by the parallel Res-AGorA project.


In any type of research that involves human participants, it’s important to consider the ethics of the research project. That is also the case when you do user research. You are responsible for your participants’ wellbeing, for representing them honestly, and for keeping their personal information safe. That is a big responsibility, so it’s important to know what to consider when you plan to do user research so as to keep your project ethically sound. Here, we will show you some of the most important rules for doing ethical user research so that you can ensure that your own research is indeed ethically sound.

Professional ethics exists in various fields, but how does it manifest itself in user experience design? What can be done to provide users with products that put their interests up front, and how do brands do it? User experience design is a term that has many different layers. Those who practice it are paving the way for users to interact with a product. Decisions are based on this fact. Some decisions may result in a limitation of the users’ actions or doing things that the user would not necessarily choose.

Guide to User Research


Code of standards and Ethics for Survey Research

These documents have been produced by the Council of American Survey Research Organizations and the Marketing Research Association, which represent the both commercial and non-commercial survey research interests in the US. They merged in 2017 to form the Insights Association.  A consolidated code was issued in 2019 but its predecessors are still useful

This guidance has been produced by the UK Market Research Society, whose members span both commercial and non-commercial sectors.


This is the final report of an ESRC funded project on social media research, discussing principles and case studies for collecting and using data from this source.

This report is from the UK Government Social Research sector, which includes a discussion of ethical implications in conducting such research.

AoIR has an ongoing commitment to ensuring that research on and about the Internet is conducted in an ethical and professional manner. The Ethics Working Committee, composed of ethicists and researchers from various regions and countries, has produced two major reports to assist researchers in making ethical decisions in their research. Researchers, students, ethicists, and related institutional bodies and academic organizations in the domain of Internet research may turn to these documents as a starting point for their inquiries and reflection


Example Project


Example text

Example Project


Example test


Big data and data sharing

A report from the UK Data Service which provides access to a range of social and economic data collections.

Council for Big Data, Ethics, and Society

The Council for Big Data, Ethics and Society is a US initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation, to provide critical social and cultural perspectives on big data initiatives.


The Ethics Rupture Summit 2012 and the New Brunswick Declaration

The New Brunswick Declaration

Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

Ongoing reform of the Canadian ethics review system and fears for the potentially undemocratic nature of Research Ethics Boards (REBs) in Canada and Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in the USA work led to an invitation summit – The Ethics Rupture in Fredericton, New Brunswick in October of 2012. This brought together leading researchers from Canada, USA, UK, Brazil, Italy, New Zealand and Australia who are committed to enhancing the practice of research ethics and to suggesting innovative alternatives to the status quo. The meeting resulted in the New Brunswick Declaration which champions the protection of research participants and researchers and declares as a truism that, even without formal ethics, research should respect persons, do no harm and privilege benefit over risk. The Declaration is aspirational, believing formal ethics review will only reach its full potential when policies, procedures and committees treat researchers in the same manner as researchers are expected to treat research participants – a culture of mutual respect.  The point is to place the key responsibility for good research behaviour onto researchers themselves.


The PRO-RES consortium partner from the University of Tartu, Estonia was responsible for conducting the mapping of existing codes and guidelines. In addition to the principal ones listed above you can search this list of over 80 codes and guidelines to locate others that might be of relevance to you. This repository is easily accessible with the documents divided between international and national: