Balancing individual privacy and public benefit

When we conduct research using individual records, it is vital that we are able to balance individual privacy with the public interest. In order to understand this balance, we must consider the ethical implications of our research. Ethics is a complex issue in most research areas, a complexity which is amplified in research using secondary data, particularly studies working with health data and those employing data linkage.

In most cases, you should seek ethical approval for your project from your University. Whilst some studies may be covered by existing eDRIS ethical conditions, many projects- particularly those using health data of non-anonymised individuals – require approval from an NHS Research Ethics Committee (REC). More information about NHS RECs can be found on the Important Bodies page.

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We’d be happy to hear from you if you have an interest in contributing to the blog, want to know more or if you have any feedback more generally. You don’t have to be Scottish, working with Scottish administrative data, or an Early Career Researcher!