How to apply/What to submit/Review Process
While the majority of research completed in the Institute does not need ethical approval, occasionally research does require the involvement of human participants, (either people unknown to the researcher or else friends and family) through methods such as surveys, interviews and focus groups, to collect pertinent information from different groups of people. In order to streamline processes and reduce the need to refer all applications to HSSREC, HSSREC has granted the Institute the right to set up a sub-committee to consider such applications for research undertaken by Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught, or Postgraduate Research Students. Staff research must be approved by HSSREC.
Who to apply to for REC approval
In line with University Regulation, REC approval is required for all research at the Institute that involves human participants and their data. The overview below sets out which REC needs to be approached, depending on the nature and scope of the research:
- Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) REC sub-committee:
If the student project is low risk, i.e. it involves adult participants who can provide informed consent. Projects involving the collection of personal data need to ensure that they comply with the Data Protection Act and follow University of Warwick procedures for the secure storage of these data.
Any applications which are not low risk will be referred directly to HSSREC. It is recommended to review the HSSREC guidelines for student research; they define the types of research projects that need to be escalated to HSSREC for ethical approval.
In cases where the student is jointly supervised with another Institution, if ethical approval has been granted by another institution’s ethics committee it should not be necessary to submit the study for approval at the University of Warwick. However, we will request copies of the approval granted before the research commences.
How to apply for ethical approval
- The application process starts as soon as the research project has been identified.
- The application will be submitted by the student in consultation with their supervisor/ module convenor.
- Research ethics applications of undergraduate students, postgraduate taught or research students will be reviewed by the IATL Ethics Officer.
- Students and Supervisors/Module Convenors are advised to read the Guidelines of HSSREC before completing the application form.
- Students should also complete the online Epigeum training before beginning their research. Students will need to submit their certificate with their application.
What to submit to the sub-committee
The documents to be submitted are the same as those required for HSSREC approval:
- Application form (asking for general information, project details, information about participants, data, publications, further information and signatures of both student and supervisor)
- Participant information sheet (including details about the complaints procedure and the University of Warwick’s minimum of 10-year data retention policy)
- Consent form
- Copies of any relevant authorisations
- Recruitment material (posters, copy of letters or emails to recruit participants, etc.)
- NB If research is to be conducted overseas, a copy of the Information sheet and Consent form should also be submitted in the research participants’ first language.
All the required forms can be found on right hand side of this page
Further information and guidelines, can be accessed on the HSSREC webpage.
How to submit documents
Applications to the sub-committee should be sent via email to email@example.com, specifying in the Subject of your email that it is a submission for Ethical approval.
The Institute administrator will forward them to the sub-committee members and keep copies of the applications on the Institute shared drive.
The members of the sub-committee will discuss the application and decide as follows, usually within a 2 week period:
- Approved – no amendment
- Conditionally Approved – minor amendments required
- Resubmit – needs to be resubmitted with substantial amendments
- Rejected – ethically unsound.
- Referred to HSSREC (cases deemed to carry a high risk to either the student and/or participants)
The applicant will be informed by the Institute administrator about the decision via email.
Applicants have a right to appeal the Committee’s decision to reject an application. The appeal process is carried out by the Research Governance Office and will be referred to the Humanities & Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee (HSSREC) if necessary.
Changes to research projects after approval has been given
The Sub-committee’s approval must be sought for any substantial change made to a project. If you are in any doubt about whether the change you are making is sufficiently substantial to require further ethics committee review please contact the Director of Studies in the first instance.
Examples of substantial changes that would require the Committee’s approval include those relating to:
- recruitment strategies,
- rewording of any documentation including letters or information sheets
HSSREC guidance on substantial amendments can be found here.
The committee and Chair’s action
Composition of Sub-Committee:
- IATL Ethics Officer and Director of Studies
- Two IATL Module Convenors
- Two IATL Teaching Fellows
All committee members will have completed the relevant training prior to any reviews being conducted.
Chair’s Action may be taken (with the advice of other Committee members if appropriate) to:
- determine whether or not an application falls within the remit of the Committee;
- confirm the approval of conditionally-approved protocols when the conditions have been met;
- approve protocol amendments which are typographical corrections, minor redrafting or administrative points;
- note correspondence received for information only.
The Institute sub-committee is accountable to HSSREC, which is itself accountable to the University's Research Governance and Ethics Committee (RG&EC) and is required to report regularly to the University through this Committee. The sub-committee will provide internal reports to the HSSREC Secretary to feed into HSSREC’s own reporting requirements, as required by RG&EC.
A log of all applications will be kept, including the following headings:
- Student name and number
- Level of study
- Title of research project
- Supervisor/Module Convenor
- Application outcome (e.g. amendments required, approved – no amendments, etc.)
- Date approval granted
All paperwork for REC applications will be saved in an electronic directory, accessible to the committee members and the administration team.
For any query about the process, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org