Requirements for a research ethics review

When does your research proposal require an ethics review?

  • When after reading the FEWEB Research Ethics Review Regulations for Researchers, you have doubts about the ethical soundness of (parts of) your research project
  • When the ethical clearance of your research project is required by a third party (e.g. journal, research grant supplier)
  • When your research project can (partly ) not be classified as ‘standard research’ (see below)

A research project can be classified as ‘standard research’ when all of the following criteria are met:

  • The research is not medical in nature and does not involve any invasive procedures, such as, for example, recording of blood pressure, heart rate and taking saliva samples
  • All participants are healthy, mentally competent adults (age 18 or older ) who voluntarily participate in the study
  • Each participant in the research project is informed about the nature, content, procedure and duration of the study/ project via an information sheet, written in plain language (understandable for the target group), free of jargon or unusual abbreviations
  • Important aspects of the study that may affect the willingness of the participants to participate in the study (such as risks, mental or physical discomfort, or other possible adverse effects) are clearly communicated prior to the start of the study
  • Each participant in the study has given active informed consent to participate
  • The name, work address, phone number and email of the researcher is provided to participants
  • Participants in the research project do not receive disproportionate (financial) incentives for their participation
  • The anonymity of participants is guaranteed and participants are entitled to the
    refuse to participate or withdraw from participation
  • Research data is stored safely, and cannot be linked back to an identifiable person
  • A statement is issued to participants in the research project that their anonymity is
    guaranteed and that personal information will not be provided to third parties without the consent of the participant
  • Methods of deception are only applied if there is no other effective procedure to conduct the research (e.g. when awareness about the real purpose of the study may influence participants’ behaviour)
  • In case of deception, participants are being debriefed about the real purpose of the study after their participation
  • For minor participants (<18 years), or participants who are unable to give active informed consent to participate in the study, permission of parent (s) / guardian is obtained through active informed consent


This list covers the most important criteria for standard research. To make sure that your research is compliant with existing rules and regulations at FEWEB, always consult the FEWEB Research Ethics Review Regulations for Researchers prior to the start of a new research project.