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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 to your checklist.  If you’re conducting a survey, attach a copy of the questions.

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

When conducting survey/questionnaires the 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? – This section is important, particularly if you’re collecting personal data which identifies and relates to an individual (e.g. name, email address) or special category data or criminal offence data.  Please see PI Sheet template for wording which you can adapt to meet the needs of your project and data management plans.
  • How will this benefit me?
  • Consent – There must be an active ‘opt-in’.  Please include appropriate consent statement e.g. “I confirm that I have read and understood the Information Sheet and I agree to take part in the study.”
  • Withdrawal statement: “I understand that my participation is voluntary and that I am free to withdraw at any point without giving a reason and without their being any negative consequences.  However, I understand that once I have completed and submitted the questionnaire you are unable to remove my 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.