Category / PG research

This part of the blog features news and information for postgraduate research students and supervisors

PRGs and the Research Ethics e-module

The University Research & Knowledge Exchange Committee (URKEC) recently approved the implementation plan of a mandatory research ethics e-module training course. The research ethics e-module is vital to ensure all academic staff and PGRs at BU are provided with training in research ethics. This will ensure all members of staff who conduct their own research and supervise students are proficient in basic research ethics principles. Additionally, this will fulfil the requirement to train all PGRs on research ethics, as strongly recommended by Vitae.

As some of you may be aware, the Research Ethics e-module training course was launched on 1 July for all academic staff to complete. PRGs (both new and current) will also be required to complete the e-module, but not until the start of the 2013/14 academic year. Further detail will be distributed in due course. If you would like to complete the e-module in advance of the PGR start date, please contact Julia Hastings Taylor.

The University procured two research ethics courses (Ethics 1: Good Research Practice and Ethics 2: Working with Human Subjects). Both courses will be available on the Graduate School’s myBU page in the coming months.

The first course (Ethics 1: Good Research Practice) covers standard practice and recent changes in universities’ ethics policies related to research that investigates people and their data. This course will be mandatory for all academic staff and PGRs. Successful completion of the course requires a score of 8/10 on the end of course assessment.

  • All academic staff (including all BU employees who supervise students on dissertations, thesis, etc.) will be required to complete the course no later than three months after the release date (1 July 2013) and refresher training will be required every two years thereafter.
  • All new starters will be notified of the requirement to complete the course. They will also be given three months to complete the course.
  • PRGs will be required to complete the course within three months of the start of their first year. This will begin at the start of the 2013/14 academic year. For ease of access, both courses will be available on the Graduate School’s myBU page, which will be available in the coming months.

The second course (Ethics 2: Working with Human Subjects) covers the ethics of involving human participants – directly or indirectly – in research projects. This course is recommended for all academic staff and PGRs and is mandatory if the research project involves working with human participants. Successful completion of the course requires a score of 8/10 on the end of course assessment.

Due to the potential risks if relevant staff and PGRs are not adequately trained in research ethics, several non-compliance measures will be implemented to ensure they have basic knowledge of research ethics principles and best practice. Please visit the Research Ethics page of the blog for more information on the e-module, to include detail on engagement initiatives and non-compliance measures.

CEMP Conversations this week and next

An extract from this morning’s conversation is here: CEMP conversation Tom Stacey

Tom Stacey shared an article about second language acquisition and related this to his own PHD research into coding as language acquisition.

He also talked about the practice-based element of his research, of which this robot is an example.             

Next week – on Friday 5th July, at 11.30 – 12.30, in the CEMP office, our final CEMP conversation of the academic year will take place.

We’ll be discussing two related items:

(1) Marketa Zezulkova’s book chapter on a holistic approach to media literacy education:  Marketa Book Chapter

(2) Richard Wallis’s recently published article, co-authored with David Buckingham, on the construction of media literacy within the policy context of the Communications Act: European Journal of Communication-2013-Wallis-0267323113483605

It should be a cracker, and,as always, all colleagues are very welcome to join us, in the current CEMP office, for the last time!

Joint PhD studentships: an example of FUSION in practice.

For many clinicians undertaking a PhD means choosing to either give up clinical practice for a period of time or studying on top of an already demanding full-time job. Now a partnership between the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT) is making it easier for midwives to undertake a doctorate while still maintaining their clinical skills. The team has developed a novel joint studentship that will allow midwives to combine clinical practice with a research role, working across BU and PHT. The studentships will run for four years and PhD students will spend two days per week working as a midwife in clinical practice and three days per week working on their thesis. This set up facilitates the co-creation of knowledge.

In addition to providing the individual midwives with excellent education, these studentships are designed to examine an area of clinical practice identified by PHT where the evidence is lacking and research is needed. As a consequence the research studies will be directly relevant to practice and will have a demonstrable impact in the future. Hence BU will be able to show that its research and education have a direct benefit to the wider society. Finally, the studentships benefit midwifery practice by building a critical mass of researchers, which will help translate research findings into practice and so create a culture of evidence-based practice.

The result is a studentship that truly fuses research, education and practice.

The CMMPH/PHT partnership has developed three matched-funded PhD studentships for midwives, which will begin in September 2013. These joint PhD studentships will be supervised by both BU academics (Sue Way, Catherine Angell, Carol Wilkins, Maggie Hutchings, Edwin van Teijlingen & Vanora Hundley) and supervisors from PHT based in practice.  We are excited about this novel approach to PhD studentships and hope that we will have many more studentships with other NHS Trusts in the future.

For further information please contact Prof. Vanora Hundley or Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen.

Research Ethics: Insights from the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health and the Centre for Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy

Ethics contributions

Collage of research ethics contributions

Academics based in HSC have experience in a wide-range of research.  In the process of reflecting on all aspects of the research process several members of HSC have published about ethical issues that they have had to address in their own research.    This BU Blog highlights some of these key HCS papers which may help fellow academics and students across the globe address similar ethical questions.  HSC has a history of publishing on research ethics, Professor Emerita Immy Holloway wrote about the researcher who may have a dual role, or even conflicting role, as researcher and health care professional (1).  More recently, several midwifery researchers in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health wrote about the issues facing practitioners doing research in the field where they work, especially concerning the similarities and differences between professional ethics and research ethics (2-3).  Negotiating ethical paths cleaved by competing concerns between protecting research participants and over-managing the ethical process is tricky.

In her book Rainforest Asylum: The enduring legacy of colonial psychiatric care in Malaysia Dr. Ashencaen Crabtree in the Centre for Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy, addresses the problematic issue of gate-keepers in research together with the ethics of critical observation of abuse (potential or actual), as well as the ethics of advocating on behalf of research participants (4).

The fear that the ethical application process in the UK is becoming more and more cumbersome and bureaucratic has been widely recognised as highlighted by Prof. van Teijlingen and colleagues (5-6).

Research ethics review processes are also considered in terms of access to participants regarded as ‘vulnerable’ in a recently published paper by Dr. Ashencaen Crabtree (7) of ethnographers working in health settings who are seeking to understand the context of care and patient/service user experiences.  She concludes that paternalistic control of participation on the grounds of ethical protection of vulnerable people seriously disenfranchises potential participants in preventing them from being able to share their relevant, lived experiences as recipients of service provision.

Prof. van Teijlingen and BU Visiting Fellow Dr. Padam Simkhada highlighted that the social, cultural and economic contexts in which research is conducted often differ between developing and developed countries.  However they stress that researchers need to apply for research ethics approval to the relevant local authority, if national legislation requires one to do so (8).

A new and challenging area of research is the use of discussion boards as a source of research data.  In their paper Dr. Bond and BU colleagues discuss both practical and ethical dilemmas that arise in using such data (9). In earlier research, Prof. Parker of the Centre for Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy, highlighted some of the benefits and dangers of using email and the Internet for research as the potential for electronic media continues its rapid growth (10).

Obtaining informed consent is something that all researchers need to consider. However, in some research situations obtaining consent can be particularly challenging.  Prof. Hundley and colleagues discuss the ethical challenges involved in conducting a cluster randomised controlled trial, where consent needs to be considered at a number of levels (11).  In a second paper issues of consent during pregnancy, where there is the potential for harm to two participants, are considered (12).

In research into the implications of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for social research, Prof. Parker explored the contested meanings and difficulties associated with informed consent in social research, highlighting some of the challenges raised by an almost unquestioned acceptance of biomedical research ethics in social research and questioning whether potential ‘harm’ is different in this context (13, 14). This research has led to further explorations of the potential for ethical covert research by Prof. Parker and Dr. Ashencaen Crabtree.


The way forward

There a plenty of challenges to research ethics in both the health and social care sectors.  Ethical considerations relate to technological developments such conducting research over the Internet or the analysis of tweets.  HSC staff will continue to publish on a range of moral dilemma as well as practical issues related to research ethics.  Moreover, academic from the two centres are planning a Masterclass on research ethics to be held in early 2014.




  1. Holloway, I., Wheeler, S. (1995) Ethical Issues in Qualitative Nursing Research, Nursing Ethics 2: 223-232.   Web address:
  2. Ryan, K., Brown, B., Wilkins, C., Taylor, A., Arnold, R., Angell, C., van Teijlingen, E. (2011) Which hat am I wearing today? Practicing midwives doing research, Evidence-Based Midwifery 9(1): 4-8.
  3. van Teijlingen, E.R., Cheyne, H.L. (2004) Ethics in midwifery research, RCM Midwives Journal 7 (5): 208-10.
  4. Ashencaen Crabtree, S. (2012) Rainforest Asylum: The enduring legacy of colonial psychiatric care in Malaysia, London: Whiting & Birch.
  5. van Teijlingen, E., Douglas, F., Torrance, N. (2008) Clinical governance and research ethics as barriers to UK low-risk population-based health research? BMC Public Health 8(396)                            Web address:
  6. van Teijlingen, E. (2006) Reply to Robert Dingwall’s Plenary ‘Confronting the Anti-Democrats: The unethical Nature of Ethical Regulation in Social Science, MSo (Medical Sociology online) 1: 59-60  Web address:
  7. Ashencaen Crabtree, S. (2013) Research ethics approval processes and the moral enterprise of ethnography. Ethics & Social Welfare. Advance Access: DOI:10.1080/17496535.2012.703683
  8. van Teijlingen E.R., Simkhada, P.P. (2012) Ethical approval in developing countries is not optional, Journal of Medical Ethics 38 :428-430.
  9. Bond, C.S,  Ahmed, O.H., Hind, M, Thomas, B., Hewitt-Taylor, J. (2013) The Conceptual and Practical Ethical Dilemmas of Using Health Discussion Board Posts as Research Data, Journal of Medical Internet Research 15(6):e112)  Web address:
  10. Parker, J.  (2008) Email, ethics and data collection in social work research: some reflections from a research project, Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate & Practice, 4 (1): 75-83.
  11. Hundley, V, Cheyne, HC, Bland, JM, Styles, M, Barnett, CA.. (2010) So you want to conduct a cluster randomised controlled trial? Lessons from a national cluster trial of early labour, Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16: 632-638
  12. Helmreich, R.J., Hundley, V., Norman, A., Ighedosa, J., Chow, E. (2007) Research in pregnant women: the challenges of informed consent, Nursing for Women’s Health 11(6):  576-585.
  13. Parker, J., Penhale, B., Stanley, D., 2010. Problem or safeguard? Research ethics review in social care research and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Social Care & Neurodisability, 1 (2): 22-32.
  14. Parker, J., Penhale, B., Stanley, D. (2011) Research ethics review: social care and social science research and the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Ethics & Social Welfare, 5(4): 380-400.


Vanora Hundley, Sara Ashencaen Crabtree, Jonathan Parker & Edwin van Teijlingen



Comment on BU Blog leads to academic publication

Authorship differs between disciplines

Paper by Hundley et al. published 2013

Last year Prof. Matthew Bennett1 raised some interesting issues about academic authorship on this award-winning BU Blog.  Authorship is an issue that many academic colleague see as challenging.   On September 27th, 2012 two of us replied to this blog by adding some of our own observations on the web. Having penned our online comments we discussed the issue with BU Visiting Faculty Dr. Padam Simkhada Senior Lecturer in International Health at ScHARR, University of Sheffield (  Between the three of us we came to the conclusion that the issue of academic authorship can be very confusing as well as tricky.


We discussed a wide-range of issues around academic authorship, including who should be an author and who should not be so, the order of authors, and that there are different conventions between different academic disciplines.  Being academic we rapidly came to the conclusion that there was a paper in this.  We drafted our ideas, searched the literature for other discussions on authorship, general guidelines on authorship, etc.   We wrote the paper and submitted it to the academic journal Health Renaissance; an Open-Access journal, which is freely available world-wide.  The editor liked it and published our paper ‘Academic authorship: who, why and in what order?’ this month as a guest editorial. 3



We would like to highlight that there are two separate messages in the publication of this paper.  The first message is about academic scholarship; some of our colleagues may find the content of this paper is a useful guide in deciding authorship order, or at least in helping to open the debate about who should be included as co-author and who is not eligible.  The second message is more about academic citizenship, namely that messages on the BU Blog and even comments in reply to other people’s messages may contain useful information to the wider academic community and should be taken further.  Our message here is don’t see the BU Blog as an end point, see it as a stepping stone to the wider academic world!


Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen*, Prof. Vanora Hundley* & Dr. Padam Simkhada**

* Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health, HSC, Bournemouth University

** ScHARR, The University of Sheffield



1.      Bennett, M. (2012) What’s in a list?, BU Research Blog,


2.      Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E. (2012) Response to What’s in a list?,


3.      Hundley, V., van Teijlingen,      E., Simkhada, P. (2013) Academic authorship: who, why and in what order? Health Renaissance 11      (2):98-101

CEMP Conversation: 27:6:13

The next CEMP conversation – our fortnightly readers’ and writers’ group – will take place on Thursday June 27th 12 – 1pm in the CEMP office.

This time we’ll be discussing this article, provided by CEMP research student Tom Stacey:

Psychological Science-2013-Frost-0956797612472207

Tom will make a link from the article to his own PHD research and open the discussion.

As always, anyone who wants to read the article and join the discussion is very welcome indeed.


eBU staff drop in sessions to be held in each school

I am pleased to announce that I am holding drop in sessions in each school for the BU community to ask questions about eBU: Online Journal.

These sessions will be:

Mon 24th June – DEC 12 -2pm in P411

Mon 24th June – School of Applied Sciences 2-4pm in C122

Tues 25th June – HSC 9-11am in the Wellbeing Centre, B112 Bournemouth House 

Tues 25th June – Business School 2-4pm in EB205

Thurs 27th June – School of Tourism 1.30-3.30 in P410

Fri 28th June – Media School 8-10am in CAG04


CEMP Conversation – recording

Audio extract of today’s  CEMP conversation 13.6.13  – a discussion of Allen et al: Work placements in the Arts and Cultural Sector: Diversity, Equality and Access, which was shared by CEMP PHD student Tamsyn Dent.

NB – some of the voices here are via skype.

The next CEMP conversation is on 27.6.13 and the reading will be posted here a week before. All are welcome to attend.

CEMP Conversation, 13.6.13

The next CEMP Conversation will be on Thursday 13th June, 12.30 – 1.30 in the CEMP office.

This is a reading and discussion group, and the reading this time has been shared by Tamsyn Dent, PHD student in CEMP: Allen, K et al (2010): Work placements in the arts and cultural sector: Diversity, equality and access

Here it is: ECU Allen et al Work placements_2010[1]

Tamsyn’s introduction: This is quite easy to scan through and some might have read already. I thought it would be interesting and relevant, particularly as a follow on from Richard Berger’s chapter in Catriona Noonan and Dan Ashton’s book.

All are very welcome to join us for this discussion.

MASTERCLASS: Interviewing in semi structured interviews

Doing face-to-face interviews is probably the most used method qualitative research. There exists a range of different interview styles or approaches to explore people’s views, experiences, feelings and/or opinions on a specific topic.  Qualitative interviews allow interviewees to expand their answers, deliberate about their experiences and highlight their feelings. Such interviews also allow the interviewer to probe, to ask for clarification and/or more detail from the interviewee.

Some interviews aim to gather descriptive data, through structured or semi-structured interviews, whilst unstructured or life-history interviews attempt to probe deeper into the interviewee’s life.  This one-day Master Class will focus on issues around conducting semi-structured interviews. The following issues will be included: ‘devising an interview schedule’, ‘good, bad & leading questions’, ‘working with translators’, ‘audio-recording of interviews’,  and ‘research ethics surrounding qualitative interviews’.

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen, in the School of Health & Social Care has conducted face-to-face interviews on a range of different health topics.  Moreover, he has published several research methods papers on interviews and qualitative research more widely.

This one day Masterclass will be held at Bournemouth University on Tuesday 18th June 2013:

To Register:


BU Research Blog Exclusive: Design & Look of eBU leaked

The first screenshot of the eBU interface has been exclusively leaked to the BU Research Blog, and is expected to go viral across the BU community over the next week.

eBU will provide both an internal and external forum for the development of research papers by undergraduate to Professor around the eight BU research themes:

–          Creative & Digital Economies

–          Culture & Society

–          Entrepreneurship & Economic Growth

–          Environmental Change & Biodiversity

–          Green Economy & Sustainability  

–          Health, Wellbeing & Ageing 

–          Leisure & Recreation

–          Technology & Design

Submissions will be open to immediate publication (in a safe internal environment) and open peer review by 2 appropriate BU academics. Authors will be encouraged to act upon these reviews by either reworking papers for submission to an external journal or by opting for publication on the external eBU site.

For BU academics this is a great opportunity to get critical appraisal on your research papers or ideas from colleagues. For academics it also an opportunity to encourage the submission of high quality student output, and possibly to facilitate the co-creation and co-production of publishable material to an external journal or to publish externally with eBU. For students, this is a fantastic opportunity to turn high quality essays or dissertations into scholarly outputs, which will be attractive to employers across many sectors and industries.

If you have any questions or would like to become involved in this exciting venture, please get in touch with me via email or by telephone 01202 963025.

Publish empirical or experimental data early whilst letting theory mature?

My colleagues and I have written several papers to help budding researchers about the process of writing and publishing academic papers (Hundley, & van Teijlingen 2002; van Teijlingen 2004; Pitchforth et al. 2005; van Teijlingen et al. 2012; Simkhada et al. 2013). For all researchers – students and staff alike publishing research findings is important as new insights will add to the existing knowledge base, advance the academic discipline and, in the case of applied research, perhaps improve something in the lives of others such as, well-being, the economy or the environment. Apart from this general/altruistic drive to add to knowledge, the advice academics give our postgraduate students is: to get your study published as soon as possible. The two main reasons for publishing early are: (a) getting into print to potentially help your careers; and (b) staking once claim as an authority in the field and/or publishing your findings before someone else does.
As always there are exceptions to the rule. As academics we agree that trying to get into print early is a good personal strategy for an early researcher or a postgraduate student especially for those working with empirical or experimental data. However, occasionally it is better to wait and give the underlying idea in the paper time to develop and mature. The kind of paper that often improves with time is one based on theory. Let me share a personal example: a theoretical paper from my PhD (awarded by the University of Aberdeen in 1994). This paper started life as a theory chapter in my PhD thesis (van Teijlingen 1994). This chapter on models of maternity care was not the strongest part of my thesis and it took me another decade of fine-tuning to get it into a state worth publishing. The paper ‘A Critical Analysis of the Medical Model as used in the Study of Pregnancy and Childbirth’ was finally published in Sociological Research Online, the original online-only Sociology journal in the world (van Teijlingen 2005). The wait was worthwhile as the paper is today (May 2013), eight year after publication, the seventh ‘most viewed articles during the past eight weeks’ in the journal (see:
In conclusion, it is generally sound advice to new researchers and postgraduate students to publish early. Occasionally though, waiting and giving your paper time to improve through discussion with colleagues, presenting the ideas at conferences and on blogs may lead to a better final product.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health
School of Health & Social Care

Hundley, V., van Teijlingen E. (2002) How to decide where to send an article for publication? Nursing Standard 16(36): 21.
van Teijlingen (1994) A social or medical comparison of childbirth? : comparing the arguments in Grampian (Scotland) and the Netherlands (PhD thesis), Aberdeen: University of Aberdeen. Available online in the British Library (search for: ).
Teijlingen van, E. (2004) Why I can’t get any academic writing done, Medical Sociology News 30 (3): 62-6.
van Teijlingen, E. (2005) A Critical Analysis of the Medical Model as used in the Study of Pregnancy and Childbirth, Sociological Research Online 10(2) Freely available online at:
Pitchforth, E., Porter, M., Teijlingen van, E.R., Forrest Keenan, K. (2005) Writing up and presenting qualitative research in family planning and reproductive health care, Journal of Family Planning & Reproductive Health Care 31 (2): 132-135.
Teijlingen van, E., Simkhada. P.P., Simkhada, B., Ireland, J. (2012) The long and winding road to publication, Nepal Journal Epidemiology 2(4): 213-215.
Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V. (2013) Writing an academic paper for publication, Health Renaissance 11 (1): 1-5.

Santander Mobility Awards

I am delighted to announce that Santander have very generously provided the Graduate School, as part of the fusion fund, a further five £5k scholarships for postgraduate research students (PGRs).

These awards are intended to support PGRs to undertake study, research and/or network activities at a Partner Institution from within the UK Santander Universities Network and/or one of the Overseas Santander Partner Universities.  Awards made will cover only direct costs (travel; subsistence; training or development costs) and all applications will need to include a precise breakdown of costs

To be eligible to apply, applicants must be registered at BU on a postgraduate research degree irrespective of mode of study (full-time / part-time) or funding status (BU studentships / externally funded / self-funded) and must be a national from one of the countries listed within the Santander Scheme.  Please see the Policy document for further details.

Successful applicants will be expected to participate in general PR activities about their research and provide a short report based on the research activity. This may involve attending events and promoting the benefits of the funding. 

For further information, please read the GS Santander Travel Grants – Policy

To apply, please complete the GS Santander Application Form and submit it by email to by 5 pm, Monday 1st July  2013.