Preparing an ethics application
All guidance information on preparing an ethics application can now be found in our Preparing an Ethics Application Digital Handbook. This handbook will guide you through the main components of an ethics application and provide University specific guidance to help you prepare your various supporting documents. It also provides bespoke advice for some of the more commonly explored themes of research.
The handbook is formed of two main parts. The first part (sections 1-5) focuses on key aspects of an ethics application and the associated advice or guidance one may need to complete those sections of the form. The second part (sections 6-12) focuses on research themes that one may encounter when planning a project and provides bespoke advice one should consider when planning a project involving that particular theme. It has been constructed in this way to enable the user to dip in and out of the material at their leisure and locate specific information quickly, whether via the ethics application itself or more broadly, a specific theme.
Sections 1-5 include advice on:
- Ethical issues and risks
- Informed consent
- Data protection
Sections 6-12 cover the following research themes:
- Research with children
- Overseas research
- Research involving disclosures
- Social media and CCTV research
- Collaborations and external approvals
- Stakeholder/patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE)
The handbook also has a search function to enable you to easily find relevant content. To access this please open the handbook and click 'begin handbook' or select any of the chapter headings and you will then see the search bar in the top left hand corner, illustrated by a magnigying glass icon.
To be helpful, we have also provided direct links to key documents in the various sub menus below.
University Templates for Participant Information Sheets
- The Participant Information Sheet template should be used for the majority of studies and adapted to the specifics of your project.
- The Participant Information Sheet template for anonymous online questionnaire/surveys should only be used for anonymous online surveys/questionnaires that do not collect any personal data, including IP address.
University Research Privacy Notices
- Privacy Notice for Research Participants
- Privacy Notice for Research Participants (large print)
- Simplified Research Privacy Notice
Easy Access Participant Information Sheet and Privacy Notice
University Templates for Participant Information Sheets
- Participant Information Sheet for Children 5-12 years
- Participant Information Sheet for Children 13-15 years
University Templates for Assent Forms
For enquiries as to whether your study requires any form of contractual arrangement (i.e. collaborative agreement, data sharing agreement or material transfer agreement), please speak with a member of the University's Contracts Team.
Data Management Plans
For more information on preparing a Data Management Plan please visit the University's website.
Use the DMPonline system to prepare your data management plan.
If you need any additional advice or support on completing your data management plan, please use the DMP Online system to ask for feedback on your plan from colleagues in the library (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Information Governance office (email@example.com).
If you will be collecting audio/video recordings or photographs as part of your study please ensure you read the Guidance on Recordings information located on the research ethics website.
Guidance for Students
For all information related to social media research and ethical requirements both for recruitment purposes as well as data collection, please read the guidance
Use of third-party apps or social media platforms for data collection
Use of a third-party app or social media platform as a data collection tool can raise significant privacy and security issues for the University. Any use of such tools, beyond using them to promote/advertise a research study, should be referred to the Information Governance Office for advice, ahead of your submission for research ethics approval.
The Information Governance Office cannot give blanket approval or say that use of a specific software is prohibited, as it depends on the context in which it is used. The IGO may authorise the use of software in particular circumstances for a particular research project but the only ‘approved’ systems would be those managed and supported by IT Services.
When contacting the Information Governance Office, please provide your DMP that must include clear descriptive details about your data collection and processing plans. Please then append a copy of any IGO advice received to your ethics application for review by the Committee.
Please see below for examples of distress policies and debrief sheets which you can modify for use in your own research study:
- Example Distress Policy adaptable for most studies
- Example Distress Policy for studies involving a high probability of distress *Please note this example was developed by Annabel Green under the supervision of Dr Sara Tai. We have been given permission to share for best practice.
- Example Distress Policy for Experimental Studies *Please note this example was developed by D. Talmi and tested extensively at her laboratory. We have been given permission to share for best practice.*
- Example Distress Policy for an online study *Please note this example was developed by Elizabeth Mcmanus. We have been given permission to share for best practice.*
- Example Debrief Sheet ** Please note this example was adapted from a version created by the Division of Psychology and Mental Health which we have permission to share for best practice**
All researchers should familiarise themselves with the guidance on the expectations of risk assessment prior to ethical approval
If you will be conducting fieldwork as part of your research project you must ensure you have completed and signed a risk assessment form appropriate to the location in which you will be travelling and appended this to your ethics application. If you are a student, the risk assessment must be signed by your supervisor and should be completed under their guidance. Please ensure you contact your relevant School Administrator for detailed information on fieldwork requirements for your School.
If you require additional advice on completing your risk assessment form or guidance on lone working procedures, please contact your School Safety Advisor (SSA) or other relevant H&S colleagues within your School:
As part of your ethics application you will need to confirm that you have read and understood the University’s Lone Working Policy and for full UREC applications will be required to prepare a personalised lone working policy which outlines how you plan on keeping yourself safe for the duration of data collection.
With the kind permission of some former UREC applicants, we have shared a small number of previously submitted ethics applications below as an example of good practice when completing the UREC form. The applications are clear and concise with responses that have the appropriate levels of detail to enable the Committee to form an ethical judgement on the proposals. The same principles in terms of completeness and level of detail can also be applied to those submitting applications for Department/Division/School review.
Please note, these applications have been shared to help embed a culture of good research practice and must not be copied or used for current or future applications without the explicit, written permission of the owners.
- The Last Resort? Exploring the ways in which family and social relations are reconfigured in a context of food insecurity (Full UREC), Mrs Alison Briggs, Dr Sarah Marie Hall, School of Environment, Education and Development
- Identifying facilitators and barriers to the provision of mental health care in prison and the criminal justice sector - a qualitative critical case decision making inquiry (Proportionate UREC), Dr Andrew Shepherd, School of Health Sciences
- The effects of diet on macular pigment and working memory (Proportionate UREC), Dr Niall McLoughlin, School of Health Sciences
- Assessing the impact of modern slavery legislation (Full UREC), Dr Rosemary Broad, School of Social Sciences
- A phenomenological investigation into the lived experiences of newly qualified midwives in current UK clinical practice (Full UREC), Miss Daisy Tudor, Dr Christine Furber, Mrs Gillian Singleton, School of Health Sciences