Access information, guidance and resources for developing your research proposal, planning your research project ethically and submitting an application for ethical approval.
Before you start your research project
1 Read our Research Ethics Framework document. It has been designed to promote a fair balance between a researcher’s right to unrestricted academic enquiry whilst ensuring adherence to appropriate and robust ethical standards to ensure the protection of all those participating in research studies.
All students and staff engaged, or about to become engaged, in research activity must read the Research Ethics Framework, complete an application for ethical approval and ensure that they have confirmation of approval prior to any research taking place.
2 Consider the ethical issues raised by your research proposal. When designing your research project in consultation with your supervisor we recommend that you work through the ESRC Points for Planning Research document (in the Additional Resources Tab above) as this will assist you in addressing ethical issues raised by your research proposal and methodology prior to making an application for ethical approval.
3 Complete and submit an application for University Ethical Approval. Please refer to the Ethical Approval tab above for guidance and downloadable forms.
For further information on university ethical approval please contact:
Undergraduate and Masters/Taught Postgraduate Ethics Applications:
Faculty Research Ethics Officer, Fiona Ryan; firstname.lastname@example.org / 01463 279 347
Staff, PHD/Postgraduate Ethics Applications:
UHI Research Ethics Officer; email@example.com / 01463 279 349
Planning for ethical approval at UHI
The process for gaining ethical approval for research activity is set out in the Research Ethics Framework document on the previous tab and involves completion of appropriate forms. The approval process is instigated by one of two versions of Form REC1, depending upon whether you are a staff member or a Student. If you are currently planning to undertake a period of research activity, please read the framework document and then download the appropriate forms from the following list:
REC1 Student Application for Ethical Approval – Research Projects – UHI Student
REC1-D Student Detailed Application for Ethical Approval – Research Projects – UHI Student
REC1 Staff Application for Ethical Approval – Research Projects – UHI Staff
REC1-D Staff Detailed Application for Ethical Approval – Research Projects – UHI Staff
Completing an application for university ethical approval;
PDF versions of completed forms may be emailed to UHI Ethics Officer or Faculty Research Ethics Officer ahead of hard copies, however original signed forms (typed names are not acceptable) must be received within 10 days of submission of the electronic version in order to process applications.
If there are significant changes to your research project or methodology following initial ethical approval then you should inform your Research Ethics Officer as a new research ethics application may need to be submitted and approved as a result of any changes to the project.
Following approval the timeframe for completion of research projects will be one year and pro rata for part-time courses. If the research project has not commenced during this time then a new application for ethical approval should be lodged.
Submitting an application as an Undergraduate or Taught Post Graduate / Masters Student:
Please submit your application in hard copy signed by both the student and supervisor and your supporting documentation to the Faculty Research Ethics Officer: Fiona Ryan, University of the Highlands and Islands, An Lòchran, 10 Inverness Campus, Inverness, IV2 5NA firstname.lastname@example.org
Students need to ensure that applications and any supporting documentation are submitted to the Faculty Research Ethics Officer far enough in advance for their application to be processed, reviewed and for confirmation of approval to be received before the proposed research start date. Applications are processed as they are received on an ongoing basis throughout the academic year, with REC1D detailed applications referred to the Chair of the Faculty Research Ethics Committee (FREC) for review as soon as they are received and logged by the Faculty Research Ethics Officer. More complex cases may be referred to the full FREC committee for consideration.
Submitting an application as a Staff, PhD Student or Postgraduate Researcher:
Please submit your application in hard copy signed by both the researcher and supervisor and your supporting documentation to the UHI Research Ethics Officer: University of the Highlands and Islands, 12b Ness Walk, Inverness, IV3 5SQ. email@example.com
Staff, PHD students and Postgraduate researchers need to ensure that applications and any supporting documentation are submitted to the Research Ethics Officer far enough in advance for their application to be processed ,reviewed and for confirmation of approval to be received before the proposed research start date. Applications are processed as they are received on an ongoing basis throughout the academic year, with REC1D detailed applications referred to the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee (REC) for review as soon as they are received and logged by the Research Ethics Officer. More complex cases are referred to the full REC committee for consideration.
The Research Ethics Committee (REC) meet regularly throughout the academic year;
2016: Thursday 10 March, Thursday 12 May, Thursday 15 September and Thursday 8 December.
2017: Thursday 15 March, Thursday 11 May.
Internet Mediated Research (IMR)
If your research project/ methodology involves use of online surveys (e.g. Survey Monkey), questionnaires, use of social media (e.g. Facebook, on-line support groups, chat rooms or Skype, either for the recruitment of participants or the gathering of data) then in addition to completing your REC1/ REC1D you should read the IMR Guidelines (below) and complete the Internet Mediated (IMR) Checklist (link below) in consultation with your supervisor.
Once you have completed your Internet Mediated Research (IMR) Checklist you should submit this with your REC1/ RE C1D Application for Ethical Approval. If you have any further questions regarding Internet Mediated Research (IMR) please contact:
Undergraduate and Taught Post Graduate/ Masters Student Applications:
Faculty Research Ethics Officer Fiona Ryan:firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff, PHD Student or Postgraduate Researcher Applications:
Research Ethics Officer: email@example.com
The documents below are intended to provide additional information for staff and student researchers which may be of assistance in designing and planning your research project, including reference to national and professional organisations, publications, journals and articles related to ethical practice in different disciplines.
Researchers may also find the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Points for Planning Research and UKRIO (UK Research Integrity Office) checklists useful in planning their research. These highlight potential issues to researchers which should be considered prior to submitting your application for ethical approval.
You will also find guidance on writing Participant Information Sheets and drafting Consent Forms below. Please note that the example forms provided are a guide only and should be used / adapted as appropriate to the study.
Professional Associations and Codes of Practice (pdf)
General Ethics Publications and Articles (pdf)
Arts and Humanities Business Ethics Publications (pdf)
Science Health Engineering Ethics Publications (pdf)
Animal and Environmental Research (pdf)
ESRC Points for Planning Research (pdf)
Participant Information Sheet Guidance (pdf)
Consent Form Guidance (pdf)
Example Research Consent Forms (pdf)