Research Ethics

The University of York Code of Practice and Principles for Good Ethical Governance states that 'All academic activities which have an ethical dimension should undergo formal ethical review and signoff'.

The department regards all academic work involving human subjects to be an activity containing an ethical dimension. This includes staff and student research, masters and undergraduate dissertations, and student film and television productions. You need to check whether Ethics Approval is necessary and get the approval if so, before you start work on the project.  Your project (including filming) will be delayed if you have not had approval from the Ethics Committee before you start.

TFTV Ethics Checklists

The TFTV Ethics Committee has produced 3 checklists that can be used for Ethics approval for projects that pose limited ethical or data protection risks.

If your project changes after you have ethics approval, you must email the Ethics Committee at to explain what has changed and confirm whether there are new ethics issues. If there are no new ethics issues, you will not need to complete a further ethics application.

If your work does not fall into any of the above descriptions, you will need to get approval for your project from the Ethics Committee by submitting either a Standard or Full Ethics application.

Standard or Full Forms

If your work cannot be approved using an Ethics Checklist and requires further ethics approval, you will need to seek it by submitting a completed Ethics Clearance Application. There are TWO types of Ethics Clearance Applications: Standard and Full applications:

  • The Standard Ethics Form (MS Word  , 48kb) is intended for use by students and researchers planning small-scale evaluation and audit work, and non-invasive work. 
  • The Full Ethics Form (MS Word  , 3,426kb) is intended for use by students and researchers planning to engage with work that requires greater ethical consideration, such as projects involving: 
    • Children, or young people under the age of 18
    • People with learning difficulties or disabilities
    • People with mental impairment due to health or lifestyle
    • People who are terminally ill
    • People who are recently bereaved
    • People unable to consent to or understand the research
    • Sensitive topics / illegal activities
    • Deception
    • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks

Most applications will also need examples of your consent form and participant information sheets to be submitted for approval. Please see the “Further Guidance and Example Applications” tab for more details.

If you’re not sure which form you need to complete, students should contact their project supervisor in the first instance and staff should contact the Ethics Committee on for further guidance.

All ethics applications must be submitted to the Chair of the Ethics Committee at at least TWO WEEKS prior to the commencement of the project. You should receive feedback within 2 weeks, but this may be to request changes to your application, and not approval for you to proceed.

All student applications MUST be first discussed, reviewed and signed off by their supervisor prior to their submission.

Further Guidance and Example Applications

We have created additional guidance on creating participant information sheets and consent forms:

If you are collecting personal or special category data, you must use the following template for your participant information sheet which includes statements regarding how data will be used and stored to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018

Examples of good practice in the submission itself and accompanying documentation: