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Ethical Approval for Research

Ethics is not primarily about forms: all research has an ethical dimension. This comes with a responsibility to think about why your research matters, to whom it matters, and how it matters. However, there are also legal and university regulations that we must comply with when our research brings us into contact (direct or indirect) with any live human participants or their data. Further information can be found at https://warwick.ac.uk/services/ris/research_integrity/.

When undergraduate research involves an element of oral history, use of questionnaires, social media or other research involving live participants or their data, or involves certain groups, the student must complete a Research Ethics Review Form before conducting the research. In cases involving the NHS or acute ethical issues, the supervisor or module convenor and Year Director will consult with the university as to whether further formal approval is required.

Forms must be signed by the student, the supervisor or convenor (who will assist in completion of the form), and the Year Director for their year. The forms will be held in a special file in the Department. In line with the University’s requirements, a copy of the assignment will also be held securely for ten years.

History Department Undergraduate Research Ethics Review Form

Sample Consent Form

Do you need ethics approval?

Looking through this checklist will help you to know whether you are required to seek ethics approval for your research.

You are advised to discuss your project, methods and ethical issues with your module tutor or dissertation supervisor BEFORE looking at this checklist.

If you are required to submit an Ethics Review Form, you should not begin your research until your form has been approved by the relevant Year Director.

  1. Does your intended research include any of the following methodologies?

  • Interviews or oral histories
  • Questionnaires or surveys
  • Analysis of any kind of social media
  • Ethnography or observation
  • Any other methodology that involves live human participants or their data?

If you said yes to any of the above, then you will require ethics approval for your project. Please complete the History Department Ethics Review Form.

For further guidance on issues to consider when using social media in your research, see https://www.gla.ac.uk/media/Media_487729_smxx.pdf

  1. Does your intended research involve any of the following groups or their data?
  • NHS patients, staff, or facilities
  • Children aged under 16
  • Vulnerable adults (those who may be unable to give informed consent or are in a dependent position)
  • People engaged in criminal or illegal activities (including visiting websites even if there is no direct contact with individuals)
  • Terrorist or extremist organisations (including visiting websites even if there is no direct contact with individuals)
  • Ministry of Defence personnel

If you said yes to any of the above, please note that you may need additional approval from the university for your research. Please complete the History Department Ethics Review Form, and the Year Director will advise if further approval is necessary. Please note that approval may take some time, so ensure that you seek ethics approval well in advance of beginning your research.

  1. Will your research require any travel or take place in any “high risk” locations?
  • A foreign country (especially if there is a travel warning in place)
  • Anywhere where you might put yourself at personal risk by visiting or with which you are unfamiliar
  • Any other location you think might be "high risk"

If you said yes to any of the above, please note that you may need additional approval from the university for your research. Please complete the History Department Ethics Review Form, and the Year Director will advise if further approval is necessary. Please note that approval may take some time, so ensure that you seek ethics approval well in advance of beginning your research.

If you said no to all of the above, then you are not required to seek formal ethics approval for your project. If your answers to any of the above questions change, you will require ethics approval for your project.

If you are required to submit an Ethics Review Form, you should not begin your research until your form has been approved by the relevant Year Director.