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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 ethical standards in all its research activities. The fundamental principle of ethical research is that researchers must consider the implications of their conduct 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.

Ethical research issues at Warwick are monitored through the Research Governance and Ethics Committee (RGAEC). The RGAEC 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. 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 student research in PAIS to be reviewed by the HSSREC, with most projects being reviewed and authorised through the module teaching and examination process, 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. To assist students in determining whether this is necessary, and what to understand better what is involved in undertaking ethical review, the HSSREC has issued specific guidelines for student research.

A good starting point for students are the Department's Guidelines for Research Methodology and Ethics and the Department's Research Ethics Policy. All PAIS staff and students engaged in research should also familiarise themselves with the University’s Research Code of Practice document. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has also developed a very useful 'framework for research ethics' relevant for all levels of researcher.