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PAIS Research Ethics Committee (Chair)

Both PAIS, and Warwick University in general terms, is committed to advancing and safeguarding the highest academic and ethical standards in all its research activities and ethical research issues are monitored through the University’s Research Ethics Committee (UREC). The UREC works closely with academic and administrative staff to ensure all members of staff and students conducting and participating in research activity that involves participants and their data adopt the University’s Research Code of Conduct, Code of Practice for Dealing with Allegations of Research Misconduct, Guidelines on Ethical Practice and Whistleblowing Code of Conduct.

The fundamental principle of ethical research is that all researchers must conisder the implications of their research for the integrity and well-being of participants involved in their research, the wider community and for the researcher themselves. Five particularly important principles of ethical research are the following:

  • The research should be designed so that it respects the anonymity of, and the confidentiality of information supplied by, research subjects.
  • Research participants must be fully informed about the nature, purpose, uses and potential risks of the research being conducted.
  • Research participants must not be coerced or deceived by the research process.
  • The research must not harm the participants in any way.
  • The independence of the research must be clear and any conflicts of interest made explicit.

Students and staff in PAIS concerned about research ethics issues should also consult he guidelines for research set out by Warwick’s Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee (HSSREC). Although it is not usually necessary for PAIS graduate student projects to be reviewed by the HSSREC, students who are concerned that one or more aspects of their project raises ethical issues may be asked to submit an application for HSSREC approval where the project is of sufficiently high risk to participants. Further details of the workings and composition of the HSSREC can be found here. The HSSREC has issued specific guidlines for student research projects here.

A short statement of the PAIS guidelines for the ethical conduct of research can be accessed here (online format). All staff and students enagged in research, however, shuld read and familiarise themselves with the University’s Research Code of Practice document prior to undertaking any research at the University (a short summary can be found here and more details can be found on the Research Support Services website here. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) also publish a very useful ethical framework for research it supports, which can be accessed here.