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The School Research Ethics Committee Welsh School of Architecture.

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Presentation on theme: "The School Research Ethics Committee Welsh School of Architecture."— Presentation transcript:

1 The School Research Ethics Committee Welsh School of Architecture

2 The Ethics Committee Since Summer 2008 there is a School Research Ethics Committee in place in the Welsh School of Architecture The Ethics Committee is set up to monitor ethical standards of social research within WSA via formal procedures Only applies to research that involves human participants, human material, or human data Other research does not need formal approval from the Ethics Committee (!)

3 The Ethics Committee 1)Receive research proposals involving human participants, human material, or human data from students and staff of WSA 2)Consider any ethical issue that might arise from carrying out this type of research 3)To decide whether a)the research should proceed as planned b)Advice on how it may be modified to do so

4 The Ethics Committee The Ethics Committee is established … …to aid and support staff and student researchers in maintaining exemplary ethical standards in research within the School …and to foster a culture among staff and students that is sensitive to ethical considerations where research with people is concerned.

5 Why an Ethics Committee? To promote a culture that ensures that the safety, well-being, and dignity of research participants is assured To have formal procedures in place to monitor and assess the ethical standards of research within WSA (involving human participants…)

6 Why an Ethics Committee? 1)It is Cardiff University Policy to have formal ethics review procedures in all schools that conduct research involving human participants, human material, or human data 2)Many research funding bodies (including the Research Councils) require statements on University research ethics review procedures as part of the research grant application. 3)Increasingly, journals only accept papers if the research has received formal ethical approval

7 Issues to Consider 1)Anonymity or Confidentiality 2)Valid Consent 3)Providing Information 4)Vulnerable Groups

8 Anonymity and Confidentiality Research should be anonymous where possible If no need for name or address, dont ask! Where you do need personal information, you have a duty of confidentiality Needs to be made clear to participant If you want to use or publish personal information (e.g., name) you need explicit (written) consent from the participant! Consider confidentiality with data storage and/or how to anonymise data

9 Consent Three types of consent: 1)Imputed (assumed consent, but not sought; without an explicit action by respondent; legally questionable) 2)Implied (e.g., filling out questionnaire; action (of filling out) by respondent implies consent ) 3)Expressed (for any procedure that carries an element of risk) –Oral –Written

10 Providing Information Valid consent is more than acquiring a signature Consent is only valid if the respondent: –enters into the research freely and willingly –knows and understands the research they are participating in –and is allowed to withdraw at any time (without having to give a reason) You have to give clear information what you are asking participants to do, what the research is (used) for, and what their rights are

11 Providing Information You always have to give sufficient information to the participant Without appropriate information there is no valid informed consent The validity of consent mainly depends on the adequacy of the explanation to the participant (…), and not merely on the acquisition of a signature

12 What Consent When? If the research is anonymous, does not carry a realistic risk of harm, and does not involve vulnerable groups, then oral consent (or even implied consent) would suffice. If the research is not anonymous, then written (or recorded) consent would be good practice (and will probably be requested by the Ethics Committee) If research involves vulnerable groups, then written consent is always needed (!)

13 Vulnerable Groups –Children (under 16 years of age) –People with learning difficulties –Patients –People in custody –People engaged in illegal activities (tricky to get written consent!) –Vulnerable elderly

14 Vulnerable Groups Working with Children under 16 years –Researcher has to check and comply with any legal requirements (e.g., vetting procedure for working with children) –Always needs written consent from parents, guardians, or those in loco parentis –Older children are expected to give consent in the same way as adults –Younger children should also be able to understand what the research is about and that participation is voluntary

15 How to Apply for Ethics Approval?

16 Making an Application Fill out the Ethics Approval Form and attach relevant documents 1)Member of Staff or a MPhil/PhD Student –Full application 2)Undergraduate or Masters Student –Includes a Fast-Track Procedure

17 The Ethics Appraisal Form

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19 Applications by Students 1)Use the Ethics Approval Form for application 2)Append all necessary documents –clear description of the research project (methodology!) –a copy of the research materials (e.g., questionnaire) –an information sheet for participants –a consent form and/or a debriefing form (where appropriate) 3)The supervisor will initially assess whether the research has (1) negligible, (2) some, or (3) significant ethical implications 4)Sign and date the form (student/supervisor) 5)Submit to the Ethics Committee

20 The Ethics Appraisal Form

21 Applications by Staff/PhD 1)Use the Ethics Approval Form for application 2)Append all necessary documents –clear description of the research project (methodology!) –a copy of the research materials (e.g., questionnaire) –an information sheet for participants –a consent form and/or a debriefing form (where appropriate) 3)Sign and date the form (student/supervisor) 4)Submit to the Ethics Committee

22 How the Committee Decides The Ethics committee is guided but not bound by guidelines of relevant professional organisations (e.g., RIBA, RGS, BPS, BSA) Guided by general principle of ethical research (Universal Ethical Code for Scientists) Guidance given by specific funders (e.g., ESRC) The most important issues are: anonymity- confidentiality, consent, informing participants, and vulnerable groups Committee will either approve (with/without minor amendments), ask for resubmission, or reject proposal

23 Success with Submitting!

24 The Ethics Committee The committee consists of a Chair, Secretary 2- 4 academic/staff members, 1 student member Current Membership: ChairWouter Poortinga SecretaryKatrina Lewis StaffMike Fedeski Chris Tweed Andrew Roberts Juliet Odgers StudentKarin Bronstering

25 More information


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