SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGY ETHICS

REQUIREMENTS

All empirical research with humans, at all levels within the School of Psychology, must be approved by a Psychology Departmental Ethics Officer (DEO) before any data collection commences, unless the research has received formal approval from a Department of Health Local or Multi-site Research Ethics Committee (LREC or MREC; these approvals must be registered with the Chair of the Psychology Research Ethics Committee). For undergraduate laboratory classes and final-year projects, approval must be obtained by supervisors. For all other research, including research carried out by members of staff, final-year dissertation students, and all postgraduate students, approval must be obtained by individual researchers.

Applications may be submitted at any time for review. However, research that poses considerable ethical issues (e.g., studies that involve drugs, vulnerable participants, deception, psychological stress and discussion of sensitive topics) must be given full consideration by the Psychology Research Ethics Committee (PREC), which meets seven times per year. All researchers are advised to seek approval as early as feasible, just in case their project requires full consideration by PREC. The meeting dates for PREC are given below.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Students, you must consult with your dissertation supervisor about the ethical issues raised by your project and how you should address the issues. Additionally, you must submit your application via the online system to your dissertation supervisor.

Your supervisor has to agree that you have addressed the ethical issues involved and that your application is complete and ready to submit to PREC.

On the online system, enter the surname of your supervisor under the ‘Name of any co-researcher(s) or applicant(s)’ box. Then enter the name of your allocated DEO in the Module leader or Authorising Supervisor's name box (you should receive an email from the dissertation module coordinator regarding this).

Your supervisor will approve the submission of the application. Please allow enough time for your supervisor to review your application and for yourself to make any necessary changes. Consult with your supervisor in this regard; PREC submission deadlines are below.

If you are using a standard questionnaire, please provide a reference for it in your application. If you are going to devise your own questionnaire, please upload a copy of it via the online application system for inclusion with your application.

Research with human participants in most cases requires a consent form. Upload a copy of your consent for the online system. Further information and a consent form template are given below.

Documents You Need to Upload

Please upload your consent form and debrief statement (if necessary).

If your research requires gatekeeper permission, please upload it to the online system.

Applicants will receive an e-mail with the DEO's decision as quickly as possible if the proposed research does not raise any ethical issues. If it does raise issues that are considering beyond minimal risk, then it will have to be referred to the Psychology Research Ethics Committee for consideration. This committee now meets seven times per year. We provide applicants with a decision within 2 weeks of the meeting.

APPLICATION DEADLINES

Applications may be submitted at any time; HOWEVER, applications requiring full ethical consideration (please see above) must be evaluated by PREC. The deadlines for consideration by PREC are:

  • 25 October 2018 (for consideration at the Wednesday 7th November meeting)
  • 25 November 2018 (for consideration at the Wednesday 12th December meeting)
  • 27 December 2018 (for consideration at the Wednesday 9th January meeting)
  • 4 April 2019 (for consideration at the Wednesday 17th April meeting)
  • 6 June 2019 (for consideration at the Wednesday 19th June meeting)

RESEARCH WITH CHILDREN

For any study that involves children or participants under 18, researchers will require Criminal Records Bureau disclosure. Forms for this can be obtained from the Medical School Office in the Maurice Shock Medical Sciences Building.

CONSENT FORM REQUIREMENTS

Researchers should normally prepare a Participant Consent Form, potentially based on the template linked below, and ensure that all participants read and sign it before any data are collected. It is the responsibility of researchers to retain signed consent forms for as long as necessary, but no longer to comply with the Data Protection Act (1998).

RESEARCH USING CLINICAL INVENTORIES

Please consult with your supervisor if you plan to use a clinical instrument.  If a participant scores above a clinical cut-off and the cut-off for the instrument is valid with respect to a diagnosis (e.g., Beck's Depression Inventory), the research team has a duty of care to let the participant know. In such cases, procedures should be in place so that only your dissertation supervisor knows the names of participants. When someone scores above the cut-off, you tell your supervisor and they will look up the participant's name and consult with a clinical psychologist who will then contact the participant and suggest that they see their GP.

AMENDMENTS

Previously approved applications can be amended if :

  • ethical approval for the project has not expired
  • an extension to the end date of the application is needed (up to 3 years)
  • the amendment is being sought because minimal changes are being made to the basic procedure (e.g., adding a condition, changing the timing, adding a questionnaire, changing the recruitment procedure)
  • additional participants beyond the number stated in the original application need to be recruited
  • researchers are being added to or removed from the project

The following changes cannot be made by amendment and must form a new
application to PREC:

  • The revised procedures raise additional ethical issues beyond those specified in the application approved by PREC
  • The revised procedures result in the recruitment of vulnerable participants and this was not previously approved by PREC
  • The project was approved by PREC more than 3 years ago

Amendment Procedure:

You can request an amendment through the on-line application system. Access your application and press "Make amendment".

FORMS AND ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE

If you have further questions, please contact Joy Kocik jk17@le.ac.uk or Professor Panos Vostanis, Chair, Psychology Research Ethics Committee, pv11@le.ac.uk.

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