Research without human subjects (Level 0)

Ethical approval for research without human subjects

If you are an honours or MSc student writing a dissertation, you must assess whether your project requires ethical review by the PPLS Ethics Committee. You must consider the ethical implications of your project regardless of whether or not the project involves research with human subjects.

Click here if your project involves collecting data from human subjects.
Click here to read about ethical concerns in the use of corpora for research projects.
Click here to read about ethical concerns in the use of social media data for research projects.

Logging a project which involves the use of pre-existing data

In some cases a project which involves the use of pre-existing data will still need to be logged on the PPLS Ethics Submission Portal. For example, if you are using data for which there are ethical considerations which require approval from the panel. Alternatively, some funders require evidence of ethical approval for all projects. The process is as follows:

  • Begin a new submission using the PPLS Ethics Submission Portal.
  • Look out for question 1.9B. This asks “Does this research project make use of any ethically sensitive pre-existing data” — click ‘yes’.
  • Answer all other triggered questions, and submit your application.
  • Depending on the level of ethical sensitivity you indicated, your project may be auto-approved, or it may be sent out for review by the panel.
  • To obtain documentation of ethical approval, send an email to, reference your approved application number.