Home » How to Apply for Ethics Approval – Postgraduate Research Students (PGR)

How to Apply for Ethics Approval – Postgraduate Research Students (PGR)

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How to Apply

To apply for ethics approval you need to complete an Online Ethics Checklist.  Login using your University credentials and click on ‘Create’ to begin.

A document on ‘what to expect when completing an Online Ethics Checklist’ is available to download.

Don’t forget if your research involves human participants:

  • Attach a copy of the Participant Information Sheet, Participant Agreement Form, Debrief Information Sheet (if required).  Templates are available – see section https://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/templates-pi-sheet-and-agreement-form/
  • If you are distributing a questionnaire/online survey, attach a copy of the questionnaire or provide a link if online (or sample of questions).  There is an Information Sheet template available which you can download and adapt to accompany the questionnaire/survey. (See link above).
  • If you are conducting interviews/focus groups, attach a copy of the interview/focus group schedule and interview questions (or sample of questions).
  • Recruitment – please attach a copy of correspondence you intend to distribute e.g. poster, recruitment email etc.  Remember you must display the Ethics ID on any flyers, posters or social media posts.
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The Review and Approval Process

  • All Research ethics checklists are initially reviewed by the named Supervisor that you list on the checklist.  Your Supervisor can send the checklist back if questions have not been answered correctly or you haven’t attached some paperwork (e.g. participant information sheet, participant agreement form or questionnaire). When the Supervisor is satisfied that the checklist is complete, they will:
    • forward your checklist for ‘low risk’ projects onto an appropriate departmental Ethics Champion
    • forward your checklist for ‘high risk’ projects onto an appropriate central research ethics panel (REP)
      • You will be invited to attend Panel (and you should be accompanied by a member of your Supervisory Team (normally your first supervisor))
      • You will be asked to answer questions about the ethics checklist and your project and be expected to demonstrate an awareness and engagement with research ethics principles.  Attendance allows for clarification on points of uncertainty and helps shorten the review process.
      • See REP meeting dates (make sure you build in sufficient time to allow for the review process into your research timetable – plan ahead!)
  • The system identifies risk by the responses you give to the questions raised in the checklist.
  • Guidance on how to create and complete an online ethics checklist can be found here.
  • Check out a list of Frequently Asked Questions

You must not start your research data collection activity  UNTIL you have completed an online ethics checklist and the checklist has been APPROVED.


Completing the online ethics checklist

Before completing the checklist you should read:

Section 1 – Researcher/Project Details

  • Make sure you select the right Faculty and Supervisor.  If your Supervisor is missing from the dropdown list email researchethics@bournemouth.ac.uk with details.
  • 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 your Supervisor).
  • 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).
  • 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 (section 3). 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 based on the filter questions you select, so it is important that you select only those questions that are relevant to your project.  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 reviewed by your Supervisor and Ethics Champion or REP) is generated based on the answers to the questions in Section 3.  The questions appear in ‘blocks’ and all questions within a block must be completed.

Section 4 – Attachments/Researcher Statement

  • If you intend to recruit research participants, distribute a questionnaire, attach a copy of the participant information sheet, agreement form, sample of interview questions and/or questionnaire.  Templates are available to download.
  • Remember that throughout the online ethics checklist, you will find help guides .
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Data Collection Activities: Points to remember

If you intend 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.


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