If you're conducting research that involves human subjects or animals, you must follow UQ's ethical clearance procedures. Details and links are provided below, depending on whether your project involves human or animal subjects.  

All research students - from undergraduates up to and including HDR (Higher Degree by Research) students - must apply for ethical clearance if projects involve humans or animals. You'll also need to apply for clearance if you use animals for teaching purposes.

Human ethics

The University guidelines are in place to protect the welfare and rights of human subjects who participate in research projects, including interviews, questionnaires and surveys.

If your research project involves data collection or surveys - even if responses are anonymous - you'll need ethical clearance.

The expectation is that staff and students carrying out research will behave ethically at all times; and that they will inform themselves about ethical procedures and policies relevant to their research projects.

Staff and students whose research involves humans, that is, who interact with humans as part of their research (see full definition below), are required to apply for and receive ethical clearance before they commence such interactions.

Research involving humans falls into one of two categories: Low & negligible risk or high risk.  Each involves a different ethical clearance process:

Research involving humans, or interaction with humans as part of research.  

What this means is that, in order to carry out your research, you need to talk to people or interact with them in some way. You may wish to:

  • interview people, whether in person, on the telephone, or by email
  • conduct surveys, whether in person, on the telephone, by email, or on the web
  • require people to undertake certain actions, which you observe or record
  • request information from people on topics relevant to your research. 

In all these cases, you ask people to give up their time to you and to make information or opinions available to you for your research. In effect, you ask for their help so that you can carry out your research. It is important that the people with whom you interact as part of your research are treated with respect, and with awareness of their social and cultural circumstances and beliefs, including where these differ from yours. 

You should:

  • give information about your research project honestly to these people
  • inform them of the reasons you are carrying out your research
  • explain its value
  • behave responsibly in the way their contributions are treated in the research project and in any assessment or publications which result from it.

Students should discuss the ethical implications of their research projects with their supervisors, and should allow adequate time to obtain ethical clearance if this is required. Discuss the ethical implications of your project, including whether you need to obtain ethical clearance, with your supervisor as early as possible in your research.

Human ethics clearance procedures

For more details see Human Ethics.

Contact us

Contacts for more information:

Further resources

Animal ethics

You must get Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) approval for any scientific use of animals - including laboratory research or teaching.

If you plan to use live non-human vertebrates, cephalopods or crustaceans you'll need approval before you start work.

Apply for animal ethics clearance

For more information, and to apply, visit the Animal Ethics pages of the UQ Research integrity and compliance website.