Communicaitons, Media and Journalism research group

A good proportion of BA students' work is undertaken outside the formal setting of the lecture theatre or seminar room and students depend on the co-operation and goodwill of local people within the city. Within Journalism Studies, undergraduate ethics approval is provided alongside health & safety procedures and the process of approval.

BA generic ethics approval is therefore provided alongside health & safety procedures and the process of approval is in the form of the type 2 generic ethics application.

BA students taking the dissertation option at UG level will also have to apply for ethics approval for their research project before the work commences.

Students also need to provide an undertaking that they have read and will abide by the following:

The Editors' Code of Practice
The National Union of Journalists Code of Conduct
The Ofcom Broadcasting Code
The BBC Editorial Guidelines
The University of Sheffield Research Ethics Policy

Any work which may need ethics approval should also comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Summary of GDPR-related changes to ethics policy

Full guidance on GDPR requirements

UG ethics application steps in brief

1. Students undertake the aforementioned compulsory first year module which deals with the ethical implications of journalistic work and the regulatory requirements their work must abide by.

2. Students then complete and sign an ethics agreement form which declares that they acknowledge that they have read and understood the ethical requirements pertaining to their journalistic work and the University's research ethics policy.

3. On completion of the form students submit the form. Failure to complete the form and upload it disqualifies students from undertaking patch work or going out in the field.

4. Students must also watch a video and complete an online test on journalism safety in order to be able to gain access to the department's media store. The video is set up on MOLE/Kaltura so that students can only access equipment once they have scored 8/10 or more on the test. This process is automated.

5. The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) also produces a web-based regulation test for the NCTJ element in the practical courses.

6. Once students have uploaded their ethics agreement form, the module tutor then reviews the applications and makes a 'type 2' generic ethics application for the student cohort via the online ethics application system.

7. Once the generic ethics review application has been submitted to the online ethics application system, it is allocated for review by a designated departmental reviewer or the ethics committee.

8. If students are undertaking a traditional academic dissertation, they will also have to apply for ethical approval via the online system and seek approval via their supervisor.