Research ethics

Read about how research ethics are managed at Victoria University of Wellington.

As a doctoral student, you have important ethical responsibilities towards your discipline, your research subjects and the University.

You are expected to conduct all research in an honest, responsible and ethical manner. You must adhere to relevant governmental, institutional and professional guidelines. Any work you submit must be your own, and your data must be valid.

Human ethics

The University has a responsibility to protect the privacy, safety, health, cultural sensitivities and welfare of human subjects.

Human Ethics Committee

The role of the University Human Ethics Committee (HEC) is to ensure that staff and students are aware of the ethical issues involved in teaching and research.

Certain research and teaching activities require prior HEC approval in order to protect both the interests of potential subjects and those of the researcher or teacher.

Do you need ethics approval for your research?

If your research involves human subjects or human tissue or affects people’s privacy, rights and freedoms, it is subject to Human Ethics Committee Guidelines.

You should:

  • read the HEC Guidelines carefully and ensure that you are familiar with basic ethical issues, principles and practices
  • discuss the ethical implications of your research with your supervisor(s) to determine whether HEC approval is required

If there is any doubt about the need for HEC approval, you must seek advice from your Head of School (HoS) or the convener of the HEC.

Read the Human Ethics Policy and download templates for applications on the HEC website.

Animal ethics

If your research involves animal subjects it must be approved by the University’s Animal Ethics Committee.

Please read the Animal Ethics Policy carefully and ensure that you are familiar with basic ethical issues, principles and practices.

Applications to the Animal Ethics Committee should be made online.

Academic misconduct

Misconduct in research is unacceptable and will be treated very seriously. Cases of academic misconduct include:

  • the fabrication of data, including claiming results where none have been obtained
  • the falsification of data, including fraudulent changing of records
  • infringements of the University’s ethical guidelines or of other relevant codes of ethics
  • misleading ascription of authorship
  • plagiarism—presenting someone else’s work as if it were your own, whether you mean to or not (you must acknowledge published and unpublished work, material on the internet and the work of other students and staff).

Academic misconduct does not include honest errors. Refer to the Student Conduct Statute, the University’s guidance on academic integrity and plagiarism, and the Recognition of Authorship Policy for more details.