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Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research, fifth edition (2024)

The fifth edition of BERA’s Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research has been revised and updated to enable researchers to conduct their work to the highest ethical standards in any and all contexts.

Click here for an online version of the guidelines

The guidelines unequivocally recognise and celebrate the diversity of approaches in educational research, and promote respect for all those who engage with it: researchers and participants, academics and professional practitioners, commissioning bodies, and those who read and utilise the research. Without being prescriptive, they represent the tenets of best ethical practice that have served our community of researchers well in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.

Published to mark BERA’s 50th anniversary in 2024, this fifth edition of the guidelines is designed to be clear and helpful to anyone undertaking educational research, including those new to the field. The revised guidelines acknowledge the Equality Act 2010 and the impact of structural inequalities throughout research, putting particular responsibility on researchers to guard against inadvertently compounding marginalisation. The updates recognise that all topics and groups have a right to be considered researchable, but also emphasise that duty of care to one another is a responsibility for all researchers, especially towards the next generation of researchers. These guidelines emphasise researchers’ responsibilities not only to protect participants but also to promote their rights to participation, particularly marginalised and vulnerable groups, so maximising inclusivity. Crucially, and following BERA’s wider work in this area, the updated guidelines acknowledge the role research can play in promoting environmental sustainability.

Print copies

The online version of the guidelines is free for all BERA members and non-members to download at the link above.

BERA members will receive a complimentary print copy of the guidelines with the summer 2024 issue of BERA’s magazine Research Intelligence. Further print copies can be purchased by members and non-members for a fee of £10 per copy (including postage). Click here to purchase individual copies or email for bulk orders of more than 10 copies.

Click here to purchase a print copy

Case studies & forthcoming book

Alongside the fourth edition of the guidelines, BERA published a series of Research Ethics Case Studies designed to complement these ethical guidelines by giving concrete examples of how they can be applied during the research process. Five additional case studies are currently being developed to accompany the fifth edition of the guidelines and are due for publication in summer 2024.

In 2025 BERA will be publishing a book in collaboration with Bloomsbury, provisionally titled Ethical Dilemmas in Education Research: BERA case studies for researchers by researchers. The book will showcase a broad range of case studies to illustrate how education researchers have navigated ethical dilemmas in their decision-making when designing, conducting and reporting their research. A team of 35 authors representing a range of perspectives and backgrounds are collaborating on the content of this book, led by Alison Fox, Sin Wang Chong, Aimee Quickfall, Matthew Courtney, Sally Baker, Natalie Tegama and Nicole Brown. More details will be released in the coming months.


At the instigation of research associations in Brazil, Spain and Ukraine, BERA entered into a collaborative process of translation of the fourth edition of the guidelines (originally published in 2018) into Spanish, Portuguese and Ukrainian. These translations can be downloaded free of charge at the links below. We will be in discussion with those associations as to whether they wish to repeat the process for the updated fifth edition. BERA is open to approaches to help produce other translations from those who might find it helpful.

Haga clic aquí para ver una versión en español de la guía

Clique aqui para uma versão em português das diretrizes

Натисніть тут, щоб побачити українську версію принципів