Frequently asked questions

Please note that a separate ethics procedure is operating for the Graduate School of Education. For further advice on the GSE procedure please contact ssis-gseethics@exeter.ac.uk.  The advice in this document is for staff and students in Egenis, the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies, Law, Politics, the Strategy & Security Institute, and Sociology, Philosophy, Anthropology.  

 

Postgraduate students should speak to their supervisor in the first instance and the Departmental Ethics Representative where needed.. Staff should speak to their departmental representative on the Ethics Committee. If the department representative isn't available questions can be directed to the committee Chair.

Yes Masters students do need approval for research involving human participants. Please discuss with your supervisor and Departmental Ethics Representative in the first instance.

The consequences for students can be extremely serious as research conducted without ethical approval cannot be published and may jeopardise your qualification.

Meetings generally take place on a termly basis; email notifications and deadline reminders are sent to all staff and postgraduate students. 

‘Interim approval by Chair’s action’ can be requested in exceptional circumstances; please give the date by which decision is needed and give the reason for the request in your covering email. 

You should request approval for the entire period of your research activity. The start date should be at least one month from the date submitted. Students should use the anticipated date of completion as the end date. Permission cannot be given for an indefinite period (IE there must be an end-date). Retrospective ethical approval will never be given.

You should make a request for an extension using the SSIS Ethics email. The request might be granted through Chairs’ action but it might have to be considered by the full committee at the next meeting.

Please note that when an extension or amendment is applied for and the research is ongoing, the Committee needs to ensure that the research processes are still appropriate and that any changes in practice and standards since the original approval are taken into account. When considering this sort of request, the Committee may therefore require additional prospective amendments or clarifications even though ethical approval has been given before. This is a matter of discretion that will depend on the application, the nature of the ongoing research, and the materiality and significance of any changes in practice and standards.

No. The Committee will never give retrospective approval; the earliest date that can be shown on your certificate is the date your application was approved or the meeting at which it was considered.

Try to keep your proposal as succinct as possible and remember that the committee are there to consider the ethical issues not academic merit of the research. A synopsis of the research is necessary and a detailed consideration of any ethical issues should be given

You should include enough information to give a context and the methods you will be using to undertake the research; you should clearly show how you will manage any risks to yourself and others.

Students must seek the approval of their supervisor prior to submission.  All staff and postdoctoral students within SSIS should use this form to apply for ethical approval and then send it to one of the following email addresses:

ssis-ethics@exeter.ac.uk  This email should be used by staff and postgraduate students in Egenis, the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies, Law, Politics, the Strategy & Security Institute, and Sociology, Philosophy, Anthropology.

ssis-gseethics@exeter.ac.uk This email should be used by staff and postgraduate students in the Graduate School of Education.

Yes and if it is in a foreign language please include a translation.

Your own contact details should be included (but use UoE email address rather than a personal email account) and those of your supervisor, or a member of the SSIS Ethics Committee.

You will be advised by email within 2 weeks of the meeting date at which your proposal was considered.

If the proposal is not approved, generally the Committee will request amendments or on rare occasions a full resubmission. The commonest amendments requested are:

  • Data storage - confidential research data should  never be stored on a USB stick, portable device or home computer. Use UoE server ('U' drive or OneDrive) instead. See http://as.exeter.ac.uk/it/files/udrive/
  • no consent form
  • no contact person
  • committing to complete confidentiality when the material would have to be produced under legal supeona
  • promising people rights over the material which cannot realistically be fulfilled e.g. to give approval or editing rights over material included in a thesis

Risk management (researcher and/or participant safety, travel to dangerous places - even if it is your home country)

If your research involves these groups or anyone employed by or recruited through the NHS you will need to apply for NHS ethics approval.

SSIS ethics approval is not  required but the Committee should be informed of applications to the NHS and the outcome. For information about the NHS system please visit their website [http://www.nres.nhs.uk/applications/approval-requirements/ethical-review-requirements/].

I will need to make an application to the Disclosure & Barring Service as I will be conducting research involving children under the age of 18 years, where can I find further information?

Further information can be found via the following pages:

Staff: Please consult with the University’s Human Resources Services for further details on the application process:
Ext: 3413
Email: humanresources@exeter.ac.uk 

Students: please see: http://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/education/partnership/  

Further information can also be found on the DBS Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service

In the following cases ethics approval may need to be sought from the Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee (MODREC) rather than the College Ethics Committee:

  • Research funded/sponsored by Ministry of Defence (MOD);
  • Research involving MOD personnel as either researchers or participants;
  • Research involving entitled dependents of MOD personnel.

Further information regarding the application procedures for seeking ethics approval through MODREC can be found at the following: http://www.science.mod.uk/Engagement/modrec/modrec.aspx

If you have any queries regarding the appropriate route for ethics approval for your research, please contact your Departmental Ethics Representative in the first instance. 

If you are travelling overseas, you should consult the University’s policy on international travel: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/staff/internationaltravel/ and discuss details of your research trip with the Insurance office (email insurance@exeter.ac.uk)

The Health, Safety and the Environment Office can provide advice and guidance about your field trip, and also runs training sessions for staff and students. For further information consult the Web site at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/staff/wellbeing/safety/ or email safety@exeter.ac.uk.

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