Ethics

Ethics

The University of Glasgow requires that all research involving human data or material is subject to formal ethical review.

This guidance applies to all staff and students in the School of Education undertaking research in their capacity as members of the University of Glasgow.

In the case of students, it covers research undertaken by a student currently registered for a degree within the School as a recognised part of his or her degree programme. However, it does not cover work carried out as part of the teaching of the programme, for example, students conducting established experiments as part of their learning. Ethical issues in respect of such matters continue to be dealt with through School teaching committees and the Senate Education Committee.

In respect of non-student research, the University policy of review of non-clinical research applies to individuals carrying out research for the University including, without limitation, all University employees, irrespective of whether their current place of work is within or outside University premises and all visiting researchers of the University irrespective of whether they are employed by the University, including persons with honorary positions, conducting research within, or on behalf of, the University.

What research does it cover?

This guidance covers all research involving human participants or human data or material. It applies whether the research is funded or not and whatever the source of funding. The ethical review process does not include research where the information about human subjects is publicly and lawfully available, e.g. information published in the census, population statistics published by government departments, personal letters, diaries, etc. held in public libraries.

An important point to remember is that:

"Although researchers are committed to the advancement of knowledge, that goal does not, in itself, provide an entitlement to override the rights of others."
Statement 11 of the Ethical Practice for the BSA, March 2002.


How do I obtain ethical approval

Applications for ethical approval should be made to the School of Education Ethics Committee. Applications are submitted electronically. Once received in the system, you should hear back in approximately 4 weeks. In order to submit an application:

  • Log in to the system: https://frontdoor.spa.gla.ac.uk/login/ and select 'Research Ethics System'. 
  • The correct application form and PLS and consent templates will be available within the research ethics system. Click on 'Download Templates' and select 'School of Education'. We will continue to keep guidance documents on our School of Education ethics website.
  • When the student and supervisor are ready to submit the application, the student should log in to the ethics system, click on 'Create Draft Application', then choose 'School of Education' for Ethics Committee.
  • The student creates what is called a 'draft' application and when complete, they select 'submit to supervisor' which will send an email to the supervisor. The supervisor then logs in to submit at which point it will be officially logged. This is the same process used with PhD student applications.
  • You can track the status of the application online. If changes are requested, you can download the reviewer comments from the system. To submit a revised application, login to the original application to upload revised documents and the response to the reviewer recommendations. 

In addition to the application form, the other documents to be submitted are, where appropriate, a Plain Language Statement (PLS), a consent form and any questionnaires and interview schedules to be used as part of the research. Guidance is available on the development of the plain language statement and consent form.

Approval will be granted for the specified period of time. If the project extends beyond the initial term of approval, or should the nature of the research change, further approval will require to be obtained by the researcher by filling out and applying for an ethics amendment.


Appeals

If you are dissatisfied with the decision made by the School Ethics Forum you should in the first instance discuss this with the Ethics Officer. If discussion is unable to resolve the issue satisfactorily an appeal may be made to the University Ethics Committee. However, it should be noted that the University Ethics Committee will not normally interfere with a School Ethics Forum decision to require revisions to the project, such as to amend an information sheet or consent form. The University Ethics Committee is concerned with the general principles of natural justice, reasonableness and fairness of the decision made by the School Ethics Committee.