Research Ethics for UG/PGT
Before beginning any research, you MUST complete the School's 'Research ethics application form for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students'. It contains further guidance on our ethics review procedures for all Undergraduate and Masters degree programmes and fully explains how you obtain ethics approval for your research.
You must not begin any research until you have ethics approval from the School.
Click here for the University's online ethics application system. Further links and documents can be found below.
|Useful forms and guidance||
|Advice for supervisors||
UG/PGT applications do not come to the monthly REC meetings and can be reviewed by the supervisor alone, unless they are classed as high risk. Advice on whether an application is classed as high risk can be found above and in the link below.
If you have any concerns or questions about reviewing an ethics application, or whether it is classed as a high risk application, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Do I need ScHARR Ethics Review?
There are various different types of research, and you may not need to complete an online application for ScHARR Ethics Review. If you are unsure whether your proposed research requires an ethics review, you must discuss this with your dissertation supervisor. You can also complete the University´s Ethics 'Application Checklist'.
|Literature Review||If your supervisor agrees that your proposed research does not require ethics review, you must complete, and both sign, the student declaration. This must be included in the appendices for your dissertation.|
Applications involving the use of secondary data now require submission via the online system.
Select the option that your research involves only existing data. You will then proceed to a questionnaire which will determine whether full ethics approval is required or whether a shorter application may be created for the ethics administrator to generate an approval letter.
|Primary Data Collection||
If you are doing primary research, which is research involving interviews or questionnaires, you need to complete the UG/PGT application form through the online system.
If you wish to collect data using an online survey or questionnaire, you must use Qualtrics. To request use of the ScHARR Qualtrics license please contact ScHARR IT (ScHARR staff and students only).
All research projects handling personal data must include a Data Management Plan which should address data capture, integrity, confidentiality, retention, sharing and publication as per the Research Data Management Policy. There are a number of templates and examples on The University Library pages, the generic DMP template is recommended if your funder is not in the list of available templates.
Please see the ScHARR Research Information Governance pages for advice on handling research data.
All research collecting personal data must comply with General Data Protection Regulations. To comply with GDPR, participants must be made aware of the following; the legal basis for collecting their data, which organisation is acting as the Data Controller, who will act as the Data processors, how will their data be stored, when their data will be destroyed and who they may contact to make a complaint regarding the use of their data. The information sheet and consent form templates include further information including the agreed wording. This is a legal requirement.
|'High Risk' Research||
A guide to what might be considered 'high risk' is provided below. If you and your supervisor decide that your research is 'high risk', your application will need to be reviewed by ScHARR's Research Ethics Committee. All high risk applications need 2 ISRs, and any amendments must be made before submitting your research ethics application to the committee. Before submitting to be reviewed by the committee, please see the monthly deadlines and meeting dates.
Research may be defined as high risk which involves the following:
• Particularly vulnerable participants;
Highly sensitive topics:
• Race, ethnicity, political opinion, religious beliefs/other beliefs of a similar nature, physical or mental health or condition, sexual life;
|Overseas Research||Research that will take place in another country and will involve human participants from that country may require ethics approval via an appropriate ethics review procedure in that country. A review and assessment of how local approval is obtained is an essential part of the ethical review process. Where such a procedure exists, it may not be necessary for the researcher to seek ethics approval via the University of Sheffield's Ethics Review Procedure, providing that the overseas procedure is judged to be sufficiently robust by the UREC.
The following link provides information on which research ethics procedures are recognised by the University as being sufficiently robust so as not to require University Research Ethics review.
If your research involves NHS patients you will require NHS Research Ethics Review (you no longer require NHS ethics review for research involving staff). This is a typically lengthy process and may take up to six months. Details can be found at:
Details of how to obtain a NHS research passport can be found here.
Health and Social Care Research Governance
If your research is a healthcare research project, i.e. involves the NHS in any way (NHS staff work time, NHS patients, NHS premises, requires NHS ethics or HRA approval) or is a social care project i.e. involves staff, carers, service users of social care provided by a local authority contract, then your project will need to be registered on the Cosing Tool so that you have a Project Code number to enter on the ethics application system. For a detailed definition of Research Governance see www.sheffield.ac.uk/rs/ethicsandintegrity/governance/definition.
Your supervisor can either approach Charlotte Claxton, Jon Woodward or Mari Bullock on email@example.com to create the Costing Tool record, or do it themselves. The information required is:
Healthcare and Social care research projects need to go through the research governance procedure. Projects MUST be authorised to commence by a Research Governance Sponsor.