SOAS University of London

Using Personal Data in Research: Code of Practice for SOAS Staff and Students

Research projects which gather or use information about living individuals must meet the requirements of the Data Protection Act, as well as ethical requirements.

Using Personal Data in Research: Code of Practice for SOAS Staff and Students (pdf; 470kb) has been approved by SOAS's Research Committee as guidance for members of SOAS on how to use personal data in research projects. It should be read in conjunction with SOAS's Statement on Ethics (which will shortly be replaced by a new Research Ethics Policy), and any professional standards or codes of practice about research involving individuals which are specific to the researcher's discipline. 

The Code of Practice includes sections which explain:

  • Why the Data Protection Act is relevant to research.
  • The importance of seeking informed consent from research subjects.
  • How consent should be recorded.
  • Situations where consent is not necessary.
  • Issues relating to audio-visual material, photographs and surveys.
  • How to keep research data secure.
  • Issues relating to publishing and disseminating data, and transferring data overseas.
  • How to anonymise research data.
  • The access rights of research subjects.
  • Intellectual property and ownership issues.

An Appendix (msword; 18kb) to the Code of Practice provides a model consent form which can be used and adapted by SOAS researchers. The form can be downloaded as a separate Word file.

Questions relating to the Code of Practice should be directed to the Information Compliance Manager (email to