Submitting applications for ethical review including link to application form
Access the online ethics review application tool and advice on how to complete the application.
This online application fully replaces all previous online (Level 1) and/or paper (Levels 2 and 3) research ethics review applications.
On the online application page, you will find:
· A video overview of the online research ethics review application (Research Ethics, Integrity & Governance Application).
· Complete list of questions (in pdf format which you can review before accessing the application itself).
· Guidance on completing the application.
· CAHSS templates for the (non-medical) Participant Information Sheet (PIS) and the CAHSS Participant Consent Form (PCF).
· Researcher checklists for those conducting research with human participants during the Covid-19 pandemic.
· Privacy notice.
If the nature of your project means that you need to use a Participant Information Sheet, please see instructions below.
In the section, ‘If you wish to make a complaint about the study, please contact:’ please adhere to the following:
Undergraduate students should insert the contact details of their Dissertation Supervisor or Course Organiser.
Taught postgraduate, postgraduate research and PhD students should insert the contact details of the Departmental Director of Research (DDoR). In cases where the student is being supervised by the DDoR, then the student should insert the contact details of the Departmental Postgraduate Research Director (DPGRD).
Staff should insert the contact details of the Departmental Director of Research. In cases where the DDoR is conducting the research, the contact details of the Line Manager or Head of Department should be used.
Before completing your application, please read the following tips and advice.
Tip 1: Begin your application well in advance of your project start date, making sure you adhere to the LLC submission deadline of a minimum of 15 working days before the commencement of any project or funding application deadline.
Research ethics review should be conducted before any research project involving human participants, personal or sensitive data, and/or human tissue commences, whether it is funded or not. This applies to both staff and students. The ethics review process is not a ‘rubber-stamp’ exercise and in rare instances for some proposed research projects can take a considerable amount of time. Please consider:
· Reviewers endeavour to process applications in a timely manner, but it is not uncommon for reviewers to request further information or clarification on specific aspects of the application. This takes time.
· In cases where a project involves novel or new research methods, or where the project raises complex ethical issues, it may be necessary for reviewers to seek guidance from other colleagues in LLC, the College Research Ethics Committee (CREC), or other schools and colleges in the University. For some ethically-complex projects, it may even be necessary to approach experts in other institutions or organisations. This can take a considerable amount of time.
· There are certain times of the year when reviewers may be dealing with multiple applications and may not be able to process them as quickly as usual.
Tip 2: Ensure you have completed the mandatory training in advance of working on your application
Access to the online Research Ethics, Integrity & Governance Application, which serves as the vehicle for research ethics review, is dependent on you having completed some mandatory training on research ethics and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Whilst completing your application:
Tip 3: Be proactive in thinking through and identifying potential ethical issues in your project. Highlight and explain these in the application, and make sure you explain how you propose to address them, avoid them, or mitigate them as you carry out your research.
The main purpose of the research ethics review process is to ensure that you, the researcher, have thought through the ethical implications of your research and to propose ways in which you will overcome ethical challenges. This may require reading around your methods or approach, or discussing these with colleagues or supervisors, so that you are aware of the key ethical issues your project raises.
Tip 4: Answer all questions as fully as you can and make sure that you answer all the questions as requested
There are multiple question sets in the application and it may be tempting to answer these with instructions such as ‘see above,’ ‘see description of research project/study,’ etc. This slows down the review process and often leads to the applicant not answering the questions properly (resulting in delays to your application because reviewers will seek further information from you).
Tip 5: Provide references to, or engage with any relevant ethics policies, ethics guidelines or secondary literature relevant to your research
Practices, approaches and expectations vary across disciplines and subject areas, and it is your job as the applicant to justify the approach you are taking to your project in the research ethics review application, especially when you are working with sensitive data or using novel (or even controversial) methods. It helps reviewers enormously if you can justify your project in the wider context of your field/discipline/methods on the basis of specific ethics policies or guidelines, or published research relevant to your project.
Tip 6: Explain your approach, processes and procedures clearly at all points
Although reviewers will have knowledge of different research fields, disciplines and methodologies, you need to bear in mind that they might not be familiar with the particular intricacies of your project.
Tip 7: Make sure your description of research project/study actually describes in sufficient detail what your project is about and how you will go about generating/collecting data and utilising it
All research ethics review applications must include a description of research project/study (maximum 500 words). Lifting a 500-word excerpt from a research, funding or dissertation proposal might be the easy thing to do at the time, but is no use to the reviewers if it doesn’t provide a systematic overview of your project approach and methods.
Tip 8: Make sure you include all relevant documents with the application
One of the most common reviewer requests is for documentation which should have been included with the application but which has not (such as a Participant Information Sheet (PIS) and Participant Consent Form (PCF)).
Tip 9: Check for consistency in dates, timelines, and other basic project information across all your application materials
A common error in research ethics review applications is a lack of consistency across the online application form and documentation (such as the Participant Information Sheet (PIS) and Participant Consent Form (PCF)).
After submitting your application
Tip 10: Respond to any reviewer requests or queries in a timely manner
It is your responsibility as a researcher (whether a member of staff or a student) to see that your application goes through the process to completion. As a matter of policy, reviewers will not chase up requests for further information.
Tip 11: If you submit or re-submit an application and you do not hear back from a reviewer within 15 working days, chase it up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is your responsibility as a researcher (whether a member of staff or a student) to see that your application goes through the process to completion. Sometimes, however, technology fails or things go wrong due to human error and you may not receive a response within the expected timescale, so please chase it up.