The importance of not breaching ethics approval
I am sure that none of us, researchers and supervisors alike, need reminding of the robust Ethics Approval procedures now in place, but the information below provides a salutory reminder:
Protocol for handling instances of potential breaches by students of research integrity in the School of education with particular reference to the ethical protocol
Ethical protocol can be breached if a student a) conducts data collection prior to notification of ethical approval, or b) diverges from the methodological design for which approval has been given. That is:
¨ appropriate permissions not obtained as stated
¨ the number/type of participants is different from that specified in the approved application;
¨ the location of data gathering is different to that specified in the approved application;
¨ the data gathering instruments differ from those described in the approved application.
Any person who identifies an issue relating to any of the above should email the Research Ethics Administrator (copied to Research Development Manager) immediately.
[the protocol then outlines the procedures and possible outcomes that might result, including the formation of a fact-finding Panel with the objective of establishing ‘intentionality’. In determining the seriousness of the breach, the Panel will take into account the degree of study (UG, PGT, PGR), evidence of training that was provided to the student, clarity of Supervisor instructions relating to data collection, information regarding the progress of application through ethics screening process, as well as a consideration of what was originally approved where relevant. The outcome of such deliberations will be one of three verdicts, each with implications for what happens next: 1) No/Low intentionality and 2) Medium/High intentionality.
IF ANY OF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS AT ANY POINT ABOUT THE FULL APPROVAL FOR WHAT YOU ARE DOING BEING IN PLACE, STOP AND TAKE ADVICE IMMEDIATELY.