What should be in an ethics self-assessment document?

The following structure provides a template to guide researchers through important aspects of ethics.

1) Context
Provide information about your work / project / study to set the scene. Such information should include: funding, motivation, expected scientific outcomes, study design, methods used, reasons for this particular research being important...

2) Overall Ethical Issues
Describe the ethical issues raised by the objectives of your research, its respective results or findings and the potential consequences of your research outcomes. Provide details about how the identified overall ethical issues will be addressed.

3) Participants
Who are your participants or in which way does your research impact on people. Provide details about how you will be recruiting participants (inclusion/exclusion critera, sites of recruitement, process...) and how you will obtain informed consent (procedure for informing people, choices offered...). Example information sheets and consent forms are useful too, as appendices.

4) Risks and Benefits to Stakeholders
Go through the list of all directly involved or indirectly affected groups of people discussing what the potential risks to them are (e.g., physical, psychological, financial...) and how they might benefit (e.g., reward, self-esteem, new skills, fun...).

5) Data Collection and Privacy
Explain in detail which data you will be collecting, how you collect it, how it will be stored and secured and what measures will be taken to protect the privacy of people involved.

6) Legal Boundaries and Guiding Documents
What relevant ethical and legal documents apply to the proposed research and/or what ethical guidance documents will be relied on? In which ways will these documents apply?

7) Ethics Monitoring
Explain which structures or procedures you have in place to monitor ethics and to be able to react to ethical issues that were not foreseen in this document.

8) Conflict Resolution
What are the potential conflicts that may arise in the research (e.g., between stakeholders and researchers) and how are they to be solved?

9) Other Ethical Concerns
Are there other ethical concerns that need to be addressed (for example, unintended uses of an application, findings unrelated to the study goals etc.)