Ethics

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All email alerts from Haplo regards applications for ethical approval are now working. Please refer to email alerts you receive or access your tasks in the Haplo site at https://vre.uhi.ac.uk.

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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. It is essential that you read the UHI Research Ethics Framework (August 2020). The framework 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.
  2. Consider the ethical issues raised by your research proposal. When designing your research project in consultation with your supervisor / line manager we recommend that you work through the ESRC Points for Planning Research document (in the Additional Resources Tab below) 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. A campus-wide licence has been purchased for Online Surveys (formally BOS). The university will provide you with an account and login details, see the Online Survey Guidance (pdf) for full details. All staff and students (FE and HE) should now use Online Surveys to conduct university-related research (e.g. undergraduate business students conducting market research projects, post graduate students conducting surveys etc.). For data protection and privacy reasons, staff and students may no longer use tools such as the free or purchased versions of SurveyMonkey, the free or purchased versions of SmartSurvey or Microsoft Forms (part of Office 365).
  4. Complete and submit an online application for ethical approval. The new research ethics application service is now available for use through the Virtual Research Environment (VRE); hosted by Haplo software. You should login to the VRE with your userid@uhi.ac.uk format (e.g., studentnumber@uhi.ac.uk, or eo99XX@uhi.ac.uk). Any applications started before 17th August will continue to be progressed in the existing research ethics service on SharePoint, but this service is now closed to brand new applications. 
    • Staff: You can check your VRE status and role at any point on the Research tab on UHI Records (under staff hub drop down menu). If you have no role granted/wrong role or are unable to see your role please contact fiona.leiper@uhi.ac.uk in the first instance.
    • For students who are unable to access the system please log into UHI Records and check your Enrolment status section on the Student Hub page. If you see a red cross against your course you will need to complete enrolment before you will be able to access the system.    Please note that if you have completed online enrolment on this day your VRE account will not be available until the next day. If you can see a green tick on the enrolment section please log a ticket using the DESKTOP, PRINT AND STORAGE > SOFTWARE button on Unidesk.  If you cannot see a 2020/21 course in your enrolment section please contact your local student records team in the first instance.
  5. Ensure you have confirmation of ethical approval prior to any research taking place.

Once you have completed your research project

It is expected that supervisors will check papers (both internal and external) produced from research before they go forward for publication.

Planning for ethical approval at UHI content

Planning for ethical approval at UHI

Planning for ethical approval at UHI

The full process in respect of applying for, and being granted, ethical approval for research activity is set out in the UHI Research Ethics Framework (August 2020).

Please update any reference you may have to the Data Protection Act 1998 to the Data Protection Act 2018.

If there are significant changes to your research project or methodology following initial ethical approval then you should inform Fiona Leiper, Research Ethics Officer at fiona.leiper@uhi.ac.uk / 01463-279347 as a new research ethics application may need to be submitted 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.

Applicants need to ensure that applications and any supporting documentation are submitted 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.

Applicants will be expected to cite their ethical approval reference numbers (e.g. IRAS and UHI) in all publications resulting from their research.

Internet Mediated Research (IMR) content

Internet Mediated Research (IMR)

Internet Mediated Research (IMR)

If your research project/ methodology involves use of online surveys (e.g. Online Survey), 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 online application for ethical approval (below) you should read the Internet Mediated Research (IMR) Guidelines document (below) and complete the IMR checklist included in the online application for ethical approval in consultation with your supervisor / line manager / research director.

Internet Mediated Research Guidelines

Online Survey Guidance (pdf)

BPS Internet Mediated Research Guidelines document

REC, AWEC and HSC meeting dates content

REC, AWEC and HSC meeting dates

REC, AWEC and HSC meeting dates

REC, AWEC and HSC meeting dates (not applicable to undergraduate / taught postgraduate / masters students - including non-clinical postgraduate taught students from The School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences)

REC meeting datesDate by which the application must be complete and endorsed
23/09/20 16/09/20
24/11/20 17/11/20
26/01/21 19/01/21
16/03/21 09/03/21
18/05/21 11/05/21
20/07/21 13/07/21
21/09/21 14/09/21

HSC meetings

There are no set submission deadlines for the HSC, please submit your application when it is ready. We aim to respond to applications within 2 weeks.

Applications with animal or environmental research are reviewed on an ongoing basis by the AWEC for which there are no deadlines.

Applications in respect of undergraduate / taught postgraduate / masters students (including non-clinical postgraduate taught students from The School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences) are reviewed by SNLs within 2 weeks of their receipt.

Contact the Research Ethics Officer content

Contact the Research Ethics Officer

Contact the Research Ethics Officer

For further information on university ethical approval please contact:

Research Ethics Officer; fiona.leiper@uhi.ac.uk

Additional Resources and Documents content

Additional Resources and Documents

Additional Resources and Documents

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.

If you plan to issue a survey to UHI students as part of your research, please ensure you complete and return this template, Research email template, (once your ethical approval has been granted) to fiona.leiper@uhi.ac.uk. Following submission your research email template will be processed by the helpdesk and issued to the relevant student group.

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.