Frequently asked questions
This is my first application for ethical approval – where do I start?
For general information on when you need to apply for ethical approval, who to contact, and how to prepare an application, members of staff should contact your Faculty Research Ethics Committee (FREC) Chair or Secretary.
Students should refer to the separate students research FAQs.
If you are not a member of a Faculty (for example, you work in a UWE Bristol Professional Service), please contact Leigh Taylor (FREC Officer).
Under what circumstances do I need to apply for ethical approval for my research?
All research involving human participants, their tissue and/or data must be subject to research ethics scrutiny by the University's Research Ethics Sub-Committee (RESC) or one of its Faculty Research Ethics Committees (FRECs).
If your research falls within the scope of the Health Research Authority's UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research, there are special requirements relating to Ethics (see guidance) and NHS Research FAQs.
How long will my application take?
What is meant by 'informed consent'?
What is the difference between passive and active consent?
Active consent requires a research study participant (or their representative, e.g. a parent in the case of research on minors) to sign and return a form agreeing to participate in the research. Under passive consent, information and a consent form are provided and the ‘participant’ (or their representative) must actively refuse to participate in the research.
The lack of an objection is deemed to be consent. Put simply, if you don’t say 'no', it means that you are saying 'yes'! This is considered by some to be ethically questionable.
What do I need to include on a Participant Information Sheet?
I am working with human tissue - do I need to get ethical approval for my research?
Do I need to encrypt my research data?
Do I need ethics approval if I am collecting data via the internet?
Do I need to get ethical approval before I submit my bid for funding?
How do I complete the ethics section on my EU proposal?
Who needs a DBS check?
Students undertaking research as part of their programme of study/research students whose work involves one-to-one or other unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults will usually need to be DBS checked.
Staff undertaking research work which involves one-to-one or other unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults will usually be checked. The need for a check should be identified by the researcher and manager on the basis of the nature of the activity involved. However, Research Ethics Committees may make recommendations regarding DBS checks for projects they review, in line with the University's policy. Members of staff requiring DBS checks should contact HR.