User Research Ethics

In the university environment, for some user research (e.g. user testing, contextual inquiries) you may need to get approval from your university's Ethics committee. Policies vary from university to university, so consult your university's Ethics committee or website for more information. Although Ethics requirements will vary a bit, they have much in common. An example of possible Ethics requirements can be found at University of Toronto:

Often you will have to describe the following characteristics of the research when requesting approval by the Ethics committee:

  • a description of the research
  • purpose
  • method
  • participant description
  • risks
  • consent forms