Guidelines on research ethics
All members of the department - both staff and students - are expected to observe the code of conduct and ethical principles laid down by the British Psychological Society in their Code of conduct, ethical principles and guidelines. They should ensure that everyone for whom they are responsible in the department, and to whom the code and principles apply, observes them.
Classification of proposed research: routine or non-routine?
- Ethics applications need to be marked as either ‘Routine’ or ‘Non-Routine’.
- Routine: If the researcher or supervisor decides the proposed study is so close to a previous study which has received ethics approval from the departmental ethics committee that no ethical issue arises, then the application is ‘Routine’. The approval number from the previous application must be included on the application. It is filed in the dept but is not considered by the committee- therefore no correspondence from the committee is to be expected.
- Non-Routine: If the proposed study raises ethical issues for which the researcher / supervisor has not had previous approval, then the application is ‘Non-Routine’ and must be considered by the ethics committee. The study cannot proceed until the researcher has received a numbered ethical approval certificate.
- Please note therefore it is the researcher’s responsibility (or the supervisor if the researcher is a student) to decide whether the proposed study can be considered ‘Routine’ or ‘Non-Routine. Where there is any doubt about whether a proposal is routine then it should be categorised as non-routine.
How to submit your ethics application
- There are five different ethics application forms. Make sure you complete the right one. Students should consult their supervisor before completing the form.
- Research using the MRI scanner: goes to UCL committee-consult with Fred Dick Once the application for a fMRI study has been approved, please email a copy for the departmental records to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Research with adults: Adults form
- Research with minors (under 16 years): Minors form
- Research using secondary data: Secondary data form
- Application for renewal
- Attach any relevant documentation. Sign the form and, if you are a student, your supervisor must also sign it.
- Please submit your application electronically to email@example.com
Approved non-routine projects
Submission dates for applications
- ‘Routine’ applications can be submitted at anytime.
- There are submission deadlines for ‘Non-Routine’ applications to the ethics committee. Applications should be submitted in the days leading up to this date. Submissions after this date will not be considered until the following deadline. In most cases, applicants will receive a response within 3 weeks of the submission deadline:
- 2012: 17 September, 15 October, 16 November, 14 December
- 2013: 14 January, 18 February, 18 March, 15 April, 17 May, 17 June.
Please submit all applications electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org
Undergraduates and ‘clinical’ projects
- In the past, occasionally, undergraduates have done ‘clinical’ projects. This is now not possible. By clinical, we mean projects which would require getting NHS ethics approval (now referred to as COREC) for research on patients or NHS staff. Procedures for gaining COREC approval have become much more onerous, time-consuming and complex in recent years, and the effort required for such approval means it is not appropriate for undergraduate projects.
- The only exception to this will be if an undergraduate, through their existing employed work, is already doing research on a project which has received COREC approval for the work that individual is doing- i.e. no new COREC application would be required.
Research involving minors (under 16 years of age)
- Research using CBCD Babylab Facilities contact email@example.com for sample text to complete ethics form and for standard Babylab Consent form.
- Sometimes students carry out research for their projects / dissertations in an ongoing study of their supervisors and which their supervisors have ethics approval for. In these cases, students still need to apply for ethical approval and their application is always non-routine.
- CRB checks: Anyone carrying out research with minors must undergo a CRB check. Please note that this can take up to three months to process so you should plan accordingly. The research cannot begin until the individual has been approved. Francesca Carter is the contact person for these checks. Please email Francesca Carter to make an appointment. CRB checks will not be carried out without prior appointment.
- Please note that research involving minors is always non-routine.
- Bersoff, D.N. (1995). Ethical conflicts in psychology
- British Psychological Society
- Kimmel, A.J. (1996). Ethical issues in behavioral research: a survey.
- Panter, A.T. and Sterba, S.K. (2011) Handbook of Ethics in Quantitative Methodology. London: Routledge
- Walrond-Skinner, S. and Watson, D. (1987). Ethical issues in family therapy.