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Completing an online ethics checklist

All Researchers (including students undertaking research projects), should familiarise themselves with the following guidance:

How to complete the online ethics checklist:

Research activities such as data collection should not commence before the online ethics checklist (including participant information/agreement forms if relevant) has been approved.

The online ethics checklist has 4 sections which you should complete:

Section 1 – Researcher/Project Details

  • Please make sure you select the right Faculty and Supervisor (for student projects) when completing Section 1
  • The summary should be no more than 500 words and written clearly and free from jargon. Please explain any technical terms or discipline-specific phrases. Do not attach a research protocol in place of completing the summary section (unless requested by Supervisor for student projects).

    Briefly outline the overall aim of your research and brief justification for undertaking the research. Please explain your main method(s) e.g. survey, interviews, observation (overt or covert), focus group or lab based tests (this not an exhaustive list).

    Include details of publication, impact and dissemination plans.

    Briefly outline any ethical issues but note that if you intend to involve human participants, you will be prompted to address anticipated ethical issues as you work through the checklist e.g. informed consent, handling confidential and/or personal/special category data and anticipated risks or concerns to you and participants. If you are not working with human participants or their data there may be other ethical considerations e.g. managing risks of research misuse?

Section 2 – Filter Questions

  • The questions that appear in Section 3 are created from the filter questions, so it is important that you select only those questions that are relevant.  The system will generate  questions that apply to your research project/data collection activities. Click on the help guides if you’re ensure if a question applies to your research or not.

Section 3 – My Research

  • The PDF checklist (which is assessed by the Reviewers) is generated based the responses you provide in Section 3.  The questions appear in ‘blocks’ and all questions within a block should be completed.

Section 4 – Attachments/Researcher Statement

  • If you are interviewing participants, distributing a questionnaire, please don’t forget to attach a participant information sheet, agreement form, sample of interview questions or questionnaire (as appropriate).  Templates are available – please download the latest version for each online ethics checklist you create.

Remember that throughout the online ethics checklist, you will find a number of help guides which you can open as you complete each section.

Address all the questions highlighted by the checklist. Where additional text boxes have been provided you should provide consise answers; no more than 500 characters (including spaces).   Do not attach a copy of your research protocol or research proposal in place of answering the questions.

Amendments – requests for amendments should now be made online via the online ethics checklist.

Data Collection Activities: Points to remember

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 (PI Sheet) and Participant Agreement Form (PAF), 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.

  • PI Sheet/PAF templates are available (see templates section),  so please make sure you download an up to date version every time you submit a checklist for a new project.  If you’re seeking an Amendment, you may need to consider whether a revised PI Sheet/PAF is required.

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 include a short version of the PI Sheet (preamble) and include brief details about the research you are conducting.  We’ve provided subheadings as a guide and additional text which should be included (in blue) as detailed in the Information template.

Other Useful Documents

External resources