- How to Apply for Ethics Approval
- The Review and Approval Process
- Completing an online ethics checklist
- Data collection activities: Points to remember
- Other Useful Documents
To apply for ethics approval Researchers 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.
- All Research ethics checklists are reviewed and approved by an appropriate central research ethics panel:
- checklists for ‘low risk’ projects are reviewed outside of panel meetings, allocated to member(s) of an appropriate panel and feedback is provided via email.
- checklists for ‘high risk’ projects are reviewed and approved by an appropriate Research Ethics Panel (REP).
- the named Researcher will normally be invited to attend Panel to answer questions about the ethics checklist and be expected to demonstrate an awareness and engagement with research ethics principles. Attendance allows for clarification on points of uncertainly and helps to shorten the review process.
- REP meeting dates (build in sufficient time into your research timetable – plan ahead!)
- Please note: If you are a member of staff registered on a part-time PhD and you are seeking approval for research in relation to your PhD, please complete the checklist as a Postgraduate Researcher and not Staff. The review and approval process for postgraduate research will apply.
- 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.
Before completing the checklist you should read:
- Research Ethics Code of Practice
- Code of Good Research Practice
- What to expect when completing the checklist – this guide provides an overview of the questions you will be prompted to answer
- Keeping Information Section – useful for your research data management plans
- Guidance on how to complete the online ethics checklist
Section 1 – Researcher/Project 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.
- 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 unsure if a question applies to your research or not.
Section 3 – My Research
- The PDF checklist 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.
- Always download the latest templates (PI Sheet and PAF)
- Remember that throughout the online ethics checklist, you will find help guides
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. You should obtain a written agreement from the Gatekeeper, which clarifies their role & responsibilities and that they support the research project. 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.
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 as detailed in the Information template.
- Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Guidance
- Research Ethics Supplementary Guide For Reference by Researchers Undertaking Journalism and Media Production Projects
- Research Data Management
- The Research Ethics Guidebook – a guide for social scientists
- MRC – Managing risks of research misuse
- Ethics Guidelines for Internet-mediated Research (The British Pschological Society)
- UK Research Integrity Office: Good Practice in research: Internet-mediated research 2016
- Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research – designed to support educational researchers
- The British Psychological Society – Code of Ethics and Conduct (2018)
- Ethics Guidelines for Research with Children and Young People
- UKRI GDPR and Research – An overview for Researchers – Compiled with the support of the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UKRI have provdied a GDPR overview for researchers
- If planning research overseas you should determine whether ethics approval is required in the country you are visiting:
- The International Compilation of Human Research standards, provided by the US Office for Human Research Protections is a useful reference document which details Research Ethics Committees in over 100 countries (they focus on research involving humans). If a local ethics committee does not exist, advice/approval from the organisation or community where the research will be conducted should be sought.
- European Network of Research Ethics Committees – EUREC is a network of existing national Research Ethics Committees (RECs) associations, networks or comparable initiatives on the European Level.
- UK Government – foreign travel advice
- The Human Tissue Act 2004 – Summary of Consent and Licensing Provisions for Research