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Research in the Faculty of Music: management of ethical issues

Research in the Faculty of Music: management of ethical issues

University Research Ethics Website


Faculty of Music Research Ethics Subcommittee Terms of Reference:

The objectives of the Subcommittee are: to maintain ethical standards of practice in research; to ensure that researchers are trained in, and aware of, ethical issues in research; to protect participants in research and researchers from harm; to preserve the participants’ rights; to take account of legitimate interests of other individuals, bodies and communities associated with the research; and to provide reassurance to the public and to outside bodies that these are being done.

Much of the research conducted in the Faculty of Music (critical, analytic, literary, compositional or historical) is unlikely to raise any ethical issues. However, experimental research, and fieldwork (whether conducted within anthropological or sociological frameworks) will probably constitute exceptions to this.  The Faculty has guidelines for the conduct of such research, and procedures (see Ethical Review Procedure Flowchart which require ethical review by the Faculty Ethics Subcommittee in all cases where proposed research will involve:

(i)      fieldwork or experiments involving human participants; or

(ii)    use of personal data.

(iii)   work with children or vulnerable individuals;

(iv)   work with NHS patients, staff or facilities;

The appropriate Ethical Review Forms (available below) should be completed in compliance with the Faculty’s guidelines, and submitted as indicated. You will probably also need one participant consent form per participant.

For undergraduates undertaking a Extended Essay (Part IA) or a Dissertation for Part IB or II that involves research falling into categories (i) to (iv) above, an Ethical Review Form must be completed and submitted together with the dissertation abstract (generally by the division of Michaelmas Term).  The Chair of the appropriate Examination Board will assess the proposal and forward the proposal and their recommendation to the Ethics Subcommittee who will confer or withhold approval.  In cases where experimental research or fieldwork constitutes a component of a taught course, the course leader will implement course-specific procedures for managing ethical issues that have been approved by the Ethics Subcommittee.

For graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and staff whose proposed research falls into categories (i) to (iv) above, Ethical Review Forms must be completed (in the case of students, in consultation with the supervisor) and submitted to the Ethics Subcommittee for evaluation.

Where research proposals involve children or other vulnerable individuals, or pose ethical issues that appear beyond the expertise of the Ethics Subcommittee, they will be remitted to an appropriate Schools-level Ethics Committee (either the Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee  or the Social Science Research Ethics Committee).

Forms and Guidelines

Experimental research

 Questionnaire-based, Interview-based or Ethnographic social research

Participant Consent Form for Interviews
Participant Consent Form for Experiments