Research governance

Research ethics describes the principles that underpin undertaking ethical research

Most therapists are aware of the need to obtain ethics approval for their research activity and may use the terms "research ethics" and "research governance" interchangeably.

Two main perspectives inform ethical research:

  • The need to avoid doing harm to participants, researchers or others
  • The need to provide the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people 

These principles must underpin your intended research activity and your reasoning must also include consideration of the possible consequences of different courses of action.
Research governance can be defined as the broad range of regulations, principles and standards of good practice that exist to achieve and continuously improve research quality across all aspects of health and social care. These standards are in place to ensure that research activity meets the ethical principles described above.

UKRIO Code of Practice for Research

For members who wish to access further information on research and ethical issues the College recommends the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO)'s Code of Practice for Research, a reference tool to support researchers and research organisations in the conduct of research of the highest quality (UKRIO 2009). Drawing upon UKRIO's experiences in addressing good conduct and misconduct in research, the Code provides principles and standards for researchers and research organisations and also includes a Recommended Checklist for Researchers: a one-page, non-technical checklist for the key points of good practice in research, based on the more detailed standards provided by the Code.
To download a copy please visit