School of Social and Political Science

Research ethics


Ethical Practice in SPS

Important - PGR students: due to Covid-19, contingencies related to research ethics are now in place so please visit the PGR FAQs webpage for related information.

In the School of Social and Political Science (SPS) we recognise that good ethical practice is a cornerstone of all our research and a mark of our commitment to professionalism, including our care for our research participants, our colleagues, collaborators, and research partners, as well as the data produced in our research.

SPS attaches great importance to research ethics, and is developing extensive procedures for supporting staff and ensuring proper ethical review and accountability.

Please use the links below to find out more and complete the online ethical review.

Good practice guidelines

Good practice guidance is available from various sources including:

Ethical review process for staff

All research carried out by members of the School is are subject to ethical review. The ethical review process is designed to support researchers in managing risks associated with their research, ensuring the highest professional standards in designing, conducting and disseminating research.

PLEASE NOTE: The staff ethics form and associated material has now been moved onto the Research Office intranet. This section of the (public) webpage is only updated on student ethics processes. To view information related to staff ethics processes, please visit the SPS Ethics Intranet webpages.

Further information on ethics processes can be found on the CAHSS Research Ethics site.

Ethical review process for students

All research carried out by members of the School, including undergraduate and post-graduate dissertation projects, needs to go through an ethical review process. The ethical review process is designed to support researchers and students in managing risks associated with their research, and to ensure the highest professional standards in designing, conducting and disseminating research.

Before starting any empirical research, all students need to complete ethical review through using the support form on the SPS intranet. This will involve a series of prompts about issues which might arise during research. Completed forms will be reviewed by the student’s supervisor or relevant course organiser. Please review the important information below.

Ethics, Data and Research Integrity Online Support Tool

On page 1 of the form, students will be asked to specify their supervisor and/or course organiser. For PhD students or MSc students submitting their dissertation, it is important that they list their dissertation or PhD supervisor here and must leave the course organiser box BLANK. Otherwise the form will be sent to the wrong person and will not be processed. If their supervisor does not appear in the drop down list, please select specify someone not in the list and add in their details.

All of the questions asked on the form are directly related to the type of research to be undertaken and so it should be a straightforward form to complete. The form can be saved and returned to at a later point, so students can clarify any issues with their supervisors as they complete the process.

View a listing of current in-progress and submitted applications

Note that if you are uploading more than one document into a form field, this must be uploaded in a single file eg a zip file.

If the research involves human participants, students must complete the relevant checklist for either on campus or off campus research, and include it as an attachment with the ethics application. Please also check the relevant flowchart.

Once submitted, the supervisor will be in touch via email to request further information or with the outcome. Students should check their Clutter and Junk folders on their student email account in case any of the communications are sent there.

If for any reason students need to update, revise, or check the status of their form, this can be done by logging in and viewing your submissions.

In case of any queries on the process or the status of an application please contact your supervision or course organiser in the first instance. You may also contact:

Ethics template forms

We have prepared a template consent form and a template information sheet for colleagues in the School to adapt for projects as appropriate for the research.

Use of these templates is not compulsory. You can create your own versions, tailored to your own research context. Even if you do not use these templates, working through them may help you clarify appropriate practice for your own project.

For collaborative projects, or projects using oral consent, creating a list of key commitments and intentions around participant information and consent based on these templates may still be useful for sharing with team members, or documenting practice when oral consent is being used.

Participant Information Sheet Template

Informed Consent Form Template