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Applying for Ethical Approval

All Researchers (staff and students) need to apply for ethical approval via the Online Ethics Checklist.  Login using your University credentials and click on ‘Create’ to begin the ethics checklist.

A document outlining the questions on the ethics checklist is available here to download and other useful guidance (including participant document templates) is also available.

Completing a checklist – Top Tips

The summary should be no more than 500 words (include details on background methodology, participant sample/recruitment and research outputs). This summary must be written in everyday language which is free from jargon.  Please explain any technical terms or discipline-specific phrases.

Staff/Postgraduate Researchers:

  • Do not attach a copy of the full research protocol or research proposal.  Address the questions highlighted by the checklist when completing the summary boxes.
  • If you decide to attach a separate word document to address the issues raised, please stay within the 500 word limits and address  the questions highlighted.  If you attach a research proposal, the checklist will be returned to you.
  • Remember that the Research Ethics Panel is made up from academics across BU and lay members which means your checklist is being reviewed by a mixed non-specialist readership who are interested only in the ethical issues associated with your research and NOT the technical details.  DO NOT attach a separate research protocol IN PLACE of addressing the questions raised in the ethics checklist

Undergraduate/Postgraduate Taught Students should seek guidance from their Tutor/Supervisor whether a full research protocol or proposal should be included with their checklist.

If you’re intending to conduct interviews/focus groups (any other face to face activities with participants),  please make sure you attach a Participant Information Sheet and Participant Agreement Form, any recruitment adverts, interview protocol, observation schedules or debrief information sheets.  If you’re conducting a survey, attach a copy of the questions.

  • See guidance  ‘how to prepare your participant information sheet‘ and participant agreement form template which you can download and amend to suit your project needs.

Gatekeepers.  If you need to use a gatekeeper to access participants, please confirm who the Gatekeeper is and their involvement.  The Researcher should obtain a written agreement from the Gatekeeper, which clarifies their role & responsibilities and that they support the research. Confirmation needs to be agreed before data collection commences.

Referral Services. If it is explicit in your participant information that you intend to refer participants to third party referral services e.g. the Samaritans, the third party referral service should be informed of the planned research activity before the data collection starts; this is both courteous and professional.  Confirmation that this will be done should be made clear within the summary boxes when completing the checklist.

Questionnaire/Online Surveys

It is not necessary when conducting survey/questionnaires for a separate participant information sheet or participant agreement form.  A questionnaire should start with a shortened version of the PI Sheet (preamble) and include brief details such as:

  • The purpose of the research/questionnaire
  • Who is being asked to participate?
  • Do I have to take part?
  • How long will it take to complete?
  • How will my information be kept?
  • How will this benefit me?
  • Consent – A separate participant agreement form is not required for questionnaires because consent is implied by the Participant completing the questionnaire.  Reference to this should be mentioned in the preamble e.g. “By completing the questionnaire you are consenting to take part in this research study.”
  • A simple withdrawal statement e.g. “Participants can withdraw at any time, simply by closing the browser page.  Please note that once you have completed and submitted the questionnaire we are not able to remove your anonymised responses from the study
  • Contact for further information: Provide a name and email address as a minimum.  For student projects, also include the email address of the tutor/supervisor
  • Who to contact in case of complaint – a name of an independent senior member of academic staff, normally the Deputy Dean for Research & Professional Practice  should be included.  There is now a central ‘research governance’ email address to insert rather than the DDRPP’s BU email address – researchgovernance@bournemouth.ac.uk.