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Ethics Approval Processes

Department of Classics and Ancient History Research Ethics Sub-Committee

How to apply/What to submit/Review Process

While the majority of research completed in the Department does not need ethical approval, occasionally research does require the involvement of human participants, 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 Departmental 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 Department 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:

• Department of Classics and Ancient History REC sub-committee:

If the 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.

• HSSREC: Any applications which fall into the following categories will be referred directly to HSSREC:

1. project involves vulnerable people, e.g. children and young people, those with a learning disability or cognitive impairment, or individuals in a dependent or unequal relationship
2. If the project involves sensitive topics or potentially offensive material (e.g. sexual behaviour, participants‘ illegal or political behaviour, their experience of violence, their abuse or exploitation, their mental health, or their gender or ethnic status)
3. If the research poses significant risk to the researcher or the participant (e.g. involving one-to-one interviews without other people in the nearby vicinity)
4. Research which will be conducted overseas in a country deemed to be high-risk.
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.
• Research ethics applications of undergraduate students will be reviewed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and those of postgraduate taught or research students by the Director of Graduate Studies.
• Students and Supervisors 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.

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 recuirt 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.

Further information and guidelines, can be accessed on the HSSREC webpage.

How to submit documents

Applications to the sub-committee should be sent to the Dept administrator, Susan Doughty (s.doughty.1@warwick.ac.uk) who will forward them to the sub-committee members and keep copies of the applications on the Dept shared drive.

Review process

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 Director of Research 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 Humanities & Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee (HSSREC).


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 Research 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


The committee and Chair’s action

Composition of Sub-Committee:
• Director of Research (Chair)
• Head of Department
• Director of Undergraduate Studies or Director of Graduate Studies (depending on level of research)

All committee members will have completed the relevant Epigeum Research Integrity e-learning module 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 redraftings or administrative points;
• note correspondence received for information only.


Accountability

The departmental sub-committee is accountable to HSSREC, which is itself accountable to the University's Research Governance and Ethics Committee and is required to report regularly to the University through this Committee. The sub-committee will provide internal reports to HSSREC to feed into HSSREC’s own reporting requirements, as required by HSSREC.
A log of all applications will be kept, including the following headings:
• Student name and number
• Level of study
• Title of research project
• Supervisor
• 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.