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The Department's research ethics review procedures

The main purpose of the Department's ethics review procedures is to facilitate the research undertaken by members of the department in a way that protects both our research participants and ourselves. Our aim is to accommodate all proposed research as far as is ethically possible. Our procedures and forms comply with the University of Sheffield ethics policy for research involving human participants, data and tissue.

The department expects all research to abide by the University ethics principles and the British Sociological Association's code of ethics.

The University of Sheffield's Research Ethics Policy applies to research involving human participants, personal data and human tissue as defined by Research Ethics Policy Note no. 1.

The Department has one set of procedures and forms for undergraduate and postgraduate-taught students and another for staff and postgraduate research students.

Department's Research Ethics Committee

The Department's Research Ethics Committee oversees the ethics procedures across all degree programmes and for staff. Key members include the department's Director of Research and Ethics Co-ordinator. Both are available to offer advice to staff and students. All academic members of staff are designated ethics reviewers. Each reviewer completes the Department's Ethics Reviewer form.

The University publishes guidance for ethics reviewers:

Guidance for Ethics Reviewers

Research ethics procedures for STAFF and POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH students

Online Ethics application system guidanceBefore beginning any research (funded or unfunded), you need to obtain ethics approval. When seeking funding, it is important to consult the guidelines of individual funding bodies as they differ according to whether ethics approval is required before submitting an application.

Staff and Postgraduate Research Students should complete an ethics application via the University's Online ethics application system.

For Departmental support on using the online system, please contact Sally Midgley.

You can check the questions covered by the online form here.

The University's ethics web pages contain important guidance on research ethics for staff and postgraduate research students. It is useful to read this before completing your ethics application:

University guidance

You must not begin any research until you have written confirmation from the Department that your application has been approved. A panel of at least three independent reviewers will be selected and will aim to complete an initial review within two weeks of receipt of the application. The timescale of subsequent reviews will depend on the complexity of any amendments required.

If you are unsure whether your proposed research requires a research ethics review, you should complete the ethics checklist. This should enable you to decide but if you are still unsure, you should consult the Department's Director of Research or Ethics Co-ordinator. If your proposed research does not require an ethics review, you must email your completed checklist and research proposal to the DepartmentĀ“s Ethics Administrator. A member of the Department's Research Ethics Committee will assess your checklist and you will receive written confirmation that a review is not required.

Ethics Checklist

Research ethics procedures for POSTGRADUATE TAUGHT students

Before beginning any research, you should complete an ethics application via the University's Online ethics application system. Please see Guidance on using the online ethics system for PGT students.

You can check the questions covered by the online form here.

The University's ethics web pages contain important guidance on research ethics. It is useful to read this before completing your ethics application: University guidance

You must not begin any research until you have written confirmation from the Department.

If you are unsure whether your proposed research requires an ethics review, you must complete the ethics checklist. This should help you to decide in consultation with your supervisor.

Ethics Checklist

If your supervisor agrees that your proposed research does not require an ethics review, you must complete, and both sign, the student declaration to this effect.

This declaration must be submitted with your research project or dissertation.

Research ethics procedures for UNDERGRADUATE students

Before beginning any research, you should complete an ethics application via the University's Online ethics application system. Please see Guidance on using the online ethics system for UG students.

You must not begin any research until you have ethics approval from the Department.

The University's ethics web pages contain important information on research ethics procedures for undergraduate students. It is useful to read this before completing the Department's form: University guidance

If you are unsure whether your proposed research requires an ethics review, you must complete the ethics checklist. This should help you to decide in consultation with your supervisor or personal tutor.

Ethics Checklist

If your personal tutor agrees that your proposed research does not require an ethics review, you must complete, and both sign, the student declaration to this effect.

This declaration must be submitted with your research project or dissertation.

Appeals

The University Research Ethics Committee (UREC) oversees the department's ethics review procedures. In very exceptional cases where agreement cannot be reached within the department, this committee can review applications. Members of the department wishing to appeal a decision of the DepartmentĀ“s Ethics Review Committee should inform Richard Hudson (Research & Innovation Services) via Sally Midgley, the Department's Ethics Administrator, email: s.midgley@sheffield.ac.uk.

Amendments

Amendments to the original research design are common in any research project. You are only required to submit a new ethics application form if the amendments raise new ethical issues in your research. Undergraduates and postgraduate taught students should consult with their supervisor or personal tutor to decide if a new ethics application is necessary. If your supervisor or personal tutor is unsure if your proposed amendments warrant a new ethics application, you should submit a 1-2 page A4 summary of the proposed amendments and a copy of the original application to Sally Midgley, the Department's Ethics Administrator at:

email: s.midgley@sheffield.ac.uk

Your summary should refer directly to the original application in order to explain why your proposed amendments raise new ethical issues. Staff and postgraduate research students who are unsure if their proposed amendments warrant a new ethics application are required to do the same. The lead ethics reviewer of your original application will decide if a new application is necessary. If (s)he is unavailable the Department's ethics co-ordinator will make the decision. You will be informed of the outcome by email.