Docstoc

A-PROPOSED-RESEARCH-ETHICS-CODE-OF-CONDUCT-FOR-EDGE-HILL

Document Sample
A-PROPOSED-RESEARCH-ETHICS-CODE-OF-CONDUCT-FOR-EDGE-HILL Powered By Docstoc
					RESEARCH ETHICS CODE OF CONDUCT FOR EDGE HILL

PREAMBLE This Code of Conduct for Research Ethics is intended to regulate the research and scholarly activities of researchers of all kinds at undergraduate, postgraduate and staff (whether contracted or honorary) levels within the Institution. For the purposes of this Code, research and scholarly activities are taken as defined by the PCFC Report (1990) of research activity in the sector. Basic Research: experimental and theoretical work undertaken to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundation of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application of use in view; Strategic Research: applied research which is in a subject area which has not yet advanced to the stage where eventual applications can be clearly specified; Applied Research: work undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge. It is, however, directed primarily towards practical aims or objectives; Scholarship: work which is intended to expand the boundaries of knowledge within and across disciplines by in-depth analysis, synthesis and interpretation of ideas and information and by making use of rigorous and documented methodology; Creative Work: the invention and generation of ideas, images and artefacts including design. Usually applied to the pursuit of knowledge in the arts; Consultancy: the deployment of existing knowledge for the resolution of specific problems presented by a client, usually in an industrial or commercial context; Professional Practice: a variant of consultancy applied to certain welldefined professions (e.g. law, accounting, architecture, nursing, social work etc). The Code is intended to lay down minimum standards to which Edge Hill staff and students are expected to adhere and not to provide a permanent set of prescriptions, proscriptions and perorations designed to cover all and every eventuality. It includes a set of administrative procedures designed to reduce duplication of effort as far as possible and devolve the process to Schools as far as is possible, while at the same time ensuring compliance with the principles and spirit of the Code. The Code is adapted from that in operation at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education and due acknowledgement is made for its permission to do so.

1

PRINCIPLES

1.1

The primary responsibility for the conduct of ethical research lies with the researcher. It is a fundamental principle that staff and students engaged in research adopt a continuing personal commitment to act ethically, to encourage ethical behaviour in those with whom they collaborate, and to consult where appropriate concerning ethical issues. The Institution acknowledges the importance of the professional codes of conduct of external agencies and organisations, and accords them primacy as a default position.

1.2

2 2.1

General Responsibilities Towards research participants Researchers have a responsibility to ensure as far as possible that the physical, social and psychological well-being of their research participants is not detrimentally affected by the research. Research relationships should be characterised, whenever possible, by mutual respect and trust.

2.2

Towards other researchers Researchers should avoid, wherever possible, actions which may have deleterious consequences for other researchers or which might undermine the reputation of their discipline. Those directing research should bear in mind their responsibilities towards members of their research teams and should aim to anticipate and guard against the possible harmful consequences of the research for team members.

3 3.1

Informed Consent Research should be based, as far as possible and practicable, on the freely given first person consent of those under study. However, it is recognised that in some cases it may be necessary to employ covert methods should these constitute the only means to obtain the required data. In such cases, please refer to section 4 below. It is the responsibility of the researcher to explain as fully as is reasonable and appropriate, and in terms meaningful to the participants: the aims and nature of the research, who is undertaking it, who is funding it, its likely duration, why it is being undertaken, the possible consequences of the research, and how the results are to be disseminated.

3.2

3.3

The power imbalance between researcher and researched should be considered. Care should be taken to ensure that the latter are not pressurised into participation. Research participants should be aware of their right to refuse participation at any time and should not be given the impression that they are required to participate. In cases where research involves a member of staff as researcher and subordinate members of staff and/or students as research participants, the researcher should be particularly aware of issues of power and consent. It should also be recognised that research may involve a lengthy data-gathering period and that it may be necessary to regard consent not as obtained once and for all, but subject to re-negotiation over time. The researcher should explain how far research participants will be afforded anonymity and confidentiality and participants should have the option of rejecting the use of data-gathering devices such as taperecorders and video cameras. If there is a likelihood of data being shared with or divulged to other researchers, the potential uses of the data should be discussed with the participants and their written agreement to such use should be obtained. Where access to a research setting is gained via a „gatekeeper‟ external to the Institution, researchers should also obtain the informed consent of research participants, while at the same time taking account of the gatekeeper‟s interests. It should be borne in mind that the relationship between research participant and gatekeeper may well continue long after the research has been undertaken. Where research participants are young children or other vulnerable groups such as elderly, disabled or sick people, or people with learning difficulties whose understanding is impaired in some way so that they are unable to give full informed consent, it may be necessary to use a proxy in order to gather data. In this case great care must be taken not to intrude upon the privacy of the vulnerable participants. The researcher should consult relevant professionals, parents/guardians and relatives, as appropriate. Researchers should attempt to obtain the informed consent of children and their parents and, in relation to schoolchildren, those who are in loco parentis. In addition to obtaining the informed consent of those under study, researchers should attempt to anticipate and guard against the possible harmful consequences of their research for participants.

3.4

3.5

3.6

3.7

3.8

4 4.1

Deceptive and Covert Research While it is recognised that there is a continuum of covert-overt research (and therefore difficulty in defining research simply as entirely covert or

overt), researchers should endeavour, wherever possible and practicable, to avoid the use of deception in their research methods, as this violates the principle of informed consent and may invade the privacy of those under study, particularly in non-public spaces. 4.2 Any researcher considering deceptive methods in research must seek approval from the Institution Research Ethics Sub-Committee. The burden of proof will rest on the investigator to show that no alternative methods are possible, that the data sought are of sufficient value to over-ride the issues of free and informed consent, and that no harm will occur to the research participants. Where approval has been given, the potential implications arising from publication must be fully considered. Covert research in non-public spaces (that is, where persons would not normally expect to be under observation), or experimental manipulation of research participants without their knowledge should be a last resort when it is impossible to use other methods to obtain the required data. It is particularly important in such cases to safeguard the anonymity of participants. If covert methods are approved and employed, and informed consent has not been obtained prior to the research, except in exceptional circumstances and with the permission of the Institution Research Ethics Sub-Committee, every attempt should be made to obtain this post hoc.

4.3

4.4

5 5.1

Confidentiality and Anonymity The anonymity and privacy of research participants should be respected and personal information relating to participants should be kept confidential and secure. Researchers must comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act and should consider whether it is proper or appropriate even to record certain kinds of sensitive information. Where possible, threats to the confidentiality and anonymity of research data should be anticipated by researchers and normally the identities and research records of participants should be kept confidential, whether or not an explicit pledge of confidentiality has been given. Whilst the researcher should take every practicable measure to ensure the confidentiality and anonymity of research participants, s/he should also take care not to give unrealistic assurances or guarantees of confidentiality. In particular, and where the nature of the research may reasonably be seen to require it, the limits of confidentiality with regard to future possible harm to the participant, the researcher, or to third parties, or in other cases with regard to criminal behaviours, should be made explicit in writing and a signed agreement obtained from the

5.2

5.3

participant. Research participants with easily identifiable characteristics or positions within an organisation should be reminded that it may be difficult to disguise their identity totally without distorting the data. 5.4 Where it is a requirement of a research grant or of publication of research findings that a dataset should be deposited in a public holding or otherwise made available to other researchers, the researcher should ensure that data should be not be associable with any particular individual. Procedures for Approval Set against the principles expressed above, specific approval is required for: i) research which involves biomedical or clinical intervention; ii) deceptive research which is defined as research where an investigator actively sets out significantly to misrepresent himself or herself, the nature of the research, and/or any other significant characteristics of the research; iii) certain classes of covert research in particular, those where the data are not recorded in a manner that protects the anonymity of subjects or participants, where the research topic is one dealing with sensitive aspects of the subject‟s or participant‟s behaviour, or where proposals for research involve vulnerable populations. Procedures for gaining approval are contained in Part B below. 6.2 Other than adherence to the principles expressed in this section, no specific approval is required for research that does not fall into these categories. Where researchers have any doubts, they should consult the appropriate Edge Hill „gatekeeper‟ whose role is described in the following sections covering procedures.

6 6.1

PART B: ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS

1.

Actors „Researcher’: the person intending to carry out an activity or project involving research or scholarship as defined in the Preamble above. „Gatekeeper’: The designated person who acts as the first port of call for a researcher who may need to refer a research project to the Research Ethics Sub-Committee. ‘Research Ethics Sub-Committee’: A sub-committee of Research Committee responsible for taking decisions about the permissibility of projects referred to it by either researchers or Gatekeepers. ‘School Research Committee’: The body established within each School to co-ordinate that School‟s research activities. In the School of Health Studies this function rests with the Steering Group of the Centre for Health Research and Evaluation. „Research Committee’: Committee. The Institution Research

2. 2.1

Introduction Responsibility for the ethical conduct of research rests primarily with the person who is planning and undertaking a project, supported by the arrangements for the scrutiny and approval of proposals which involves „gatekeepers‟ and, where necessary, the Research Ethics SubCommittee (RESC). Where a member of staff is also a member of a professional organisation whose own published Code of Conduct in any way contravenes or conflicts with this Code of Practice, it is the responsibility of the member of staff to bring this to the attention of School Research Committee. The Institution recognises a default position in favour of researchers‟ obligations to their professional Codes of Conduct but RESC must be informed of such conflict and be able to consider it before the investigation is approved for commencement. The ‘Gatekeeper’ System The relevant Edge Hill gatekeeper acts as a conduit between the researcher and the possible use of RESC. The gatekeeper, who will have received appropriate training and have a strong grasp of

2.2

3.

precedence in local issues, will guide the researcher in areas of uncertainty. In particular, where a research proposal does not fall clearly into one of the categories expressed in Part A, Section 6, the gatekeeper will judge whether or not a proposal should be submitted to RESC for formal approval. In summary, gatekeepers are:

Type or Researcher Academic Staff and research degree students based within Schools Postgraduate taught students Undergraduate students

Relevant Gatekeeper The Chair of the appropriate School Research Committee

Staff or research degree students not based in any of the Schools

The appropriate Course Leader (taking advice from the appropriate Chair of the School Research Committee if necessary) The appropriate dissertation Module Tutor (taking advice from the appropriate Chair of the School Research Committee if necessary) Chair of the Institution Research Ethics SubCommittee

4. 4.1

The Research Ethics Sub-Committee The Research Ethics Sub-Committee has three principal functions. Its first is to consider and, in accordance with the principles expressed in Part A of this Code of Practice, grant or refuse permission for the undertaking of research investigations which fall in the categories listed in Part A, Section 6. The second is to act as an advisory body to the Research Committee, and thus the Institution, on matters related to research ethics. The third is to sponsor appropriate training and staff development. The details of RESC are as follows: Terms of Reference The Institution Research Ethics Sub-Committee is responsible to the Institution Research Committee for: i) the approval, referral and/or rejection of staff and student research investigations in accordance with the principles laid down in this Code of Conduct; monitoring the appropriateness and effectiveness of procedures for granting or withholding ethical approval mechanisms for research;

4.2

ii)

iii)

the operation of a system of appeals for researchers who have been refused permission to undertake research and/or researchrelated activities on ethical grounds; advice on policy issues related to research ethics as determined and requested by the Research Committee; sponsoring staff development in the area of research ethics within the Institution.

iv)

v)

Membership Chair (nominated by the Research Committee) Head of Research One nominated representative from each of the Schools Academic Quality Unit Officer The Sub-Committee may co-opt external members to assist its consideration of specific cases where specialist biomedical or other technical expertise is necessary. Regularity of Meetings and Availability of Minutes The Research Ethics Sub-Committee will meet on a regular basis in response to applications submitted to it. Copies of all minutes of the Research Ethics Sub-Committee will be forwarded to the Research Committee. An annual report will be submitted to the Research Committee‟s first meeting of the following academic year. 4.3 It is an expectation that RESC will be asked to consider any research proposal which falls under the categories listed in Part A, Section 6 of this Code of Practice. Failure to submit such proposals for approval or, once submitted, violation of RESC‟s decision to refuse permission for such research to proceed, may negate the Institution‟s insurance cover and may also result in disciplinary action against the researcher or researchers involved.

5. 5.1 5.11

Procedures for Securing Approval for Research Projects School of Health Studies Research proposals from the School of Health Studies which require the approval of the Local Research Ethics Committee will not require to be approved through the following procedures. Copies of the formal notification of approval should, however, be forwarded to the RESC and reported upon in line with the procedure laid down at section 7.4.

5.12

Any proposals from the School of Health Studies which do not require the approval of the Local Research Ethics Committee but which fall under the remit of this policy are subject to the procedures detailed below. Members of staff based within Schools seeking approval

5.2

5.2.1 The primary responsibility for the ethical conduct of research lies with the researcher. However, in cases of uncertainty, members of staff seeking approval may liase with the relevant gatekeeper in order to ensure that their research does not contravene the principles expressed in this Code of Practice. A pro forma for recording both decisions and also advice from relevant gatekeepers should be obtained from the School Office (Form Research Ethics 1). 5.2.2 Any proposal which falls under Part A, Section 6 of this Code of Practice must be submitted to RESC. Such proposals must be received by the Officer at least five working days before the next scheduled meeting. Chair‟s action may be taken on matters that require greater expediency but such decisions will be taken in consultation with at least one other RESC member.

5.3

Research degree students based within Schools seeking approval

5.3.1 The general framework for approval will apply to research students as well as staff. Additionally, all research students will be offered appropriate education and training in Research Ethics. All research students are required to signal their adherence to the Institution‟s‟s principles on the „Application for Registration as a Candidate for a Higher Degree by Research‟ form (rdcreg), as is the supervisory team for each research degree programme. 5.3.2 All proposals which fall under Part A, Section 6 of this Code of Practice must be submitted to RESC for approval before the „Application for Registration as a Candidate for a Higher Degree by Research‟ form (rdcreg) is considered by the Research Degrees Committee. The appropriate gatekeeper should liase with the Chair of RESC where there is any doubt whether a research proposal should be considered by RESC.

5.4

Postgraduate taught students seeking approval

5.4.1 The general framework for approval will apply to students following taught postgraduate courses. Course Leaders are responsible for ensuring that all students are aware of, and agree to abide by, the principles expressed in this Code of Conduct, through their respective

Course Handbooks. All students and dissertation supervisors are required to signal their adherence on the form Research Ethics 2. 5.4.2 All proposals which fall under Part A, Section 6 of this Code of Practice must be submitted to RESC for approval. The Course Leader should liase with the RESC Chair where there is any doubt whether a research proposal should be considered by RESC.

5.5

Undergraduate students seeking approval

5.5.1 The general framework for approval will apply to students following undergraduate programmes. Course Leaders in undergraduate programmes are responsible for ensuring that all undergraduate students are aware of, and agree to abide by, the principles expressed in this Code of Conduct, through their respective Course Handbooks. All undergraduate students are required to signal their adherence to the principles expressed in this Code of Conduct on their assignment cover sheets. Where a given project or element of coursework may entail ethically sensitive issues, it is the responsibility of the Module Tutor to liaise with the student and relevant Chair of the School Research Committee. 5.5.2 All proposals which fall under Part A, Section 6 of this Code of Practice must be submitted to RESC for approval. The Module Tutor or should liaise with the RESC Chair where there is any doubt whether a research proposal should be considered by RESC. 5.6 Members of staff or research degree students not based in any of the Schools seeking approval

5.6.1 As is the case with other categories of researcher, the primary responsibility for the ethical conduct of research lies with the researcher. However, in cases of uncertainty, members of staff seeking approval may liase with the relevant gatekeeper, the Chair of the RESC, in order to ensure that their research does not contravene the principles expressed in this Code of Practice. A pro forma for recording both decisions and also advice from relevant gatekeepers should be obtained from the Research Office (Form Research Ethics 1). 5.6.2 Any proposal which falls under Part A, Section 6 of this Code of Practice must be submitted to RESC. Such proposals must be received by the Officer at least five working days before the next scheduled meeting. Chair‟s action may be taken on matters that require greater expediency but such decisions will be taken in consultation with at least two other RESC members. 5.7 General

5.7.1 In the event that any gatekeeper feels unable to deal with a particular issue or if they have concerns about an application or project, s/he should notify those concerns to the Chair of the RESC who will decide on the appropriate course of action. 6. 6.1 Appeals Procedure All researchers have the right to appeal against the judgement of RESC. There are two grounds for such appeal: a) where the researcher feels that RESC has been unfair in its consideration of a proposal and/or has not properly understood it; b) where there have been any irregularities in the procedures adopted by RESC. 6.2 A researcher has the right to appeal in writing against a decision made by RESC within ten working days of the notification of that decision. The Chair will convene a meeting of RESC with the proposer to review the proposal and the grounds for the RESC‟s decision. This meeting will normally be held within ten working days of notification of the appeal. There will be at least two RESC members in addition to the Chair in attendance. At this stage the RESC may: a) b) uphold its original decision to reject the proposal; uphold the appeal of the researcher and approve the original proposal; uphold the appeal of the researcher but refer the decision until appropriate revisions have been made to the proposal.

6.3

6.4

c)

6.5

Following an unsuccessful appeal, and where the researcher is dissatisfied with the decision of the RESC, he or she has the right to submit a final appeal to the Institution‟s‟s Research Committee. This appeal must be lodged through the Chair of the Research Committee within five working days of receipt of RESC‟s final decision. A panel of not less than three members of the Research Committee, who have not previously been associated with the proposal, will make a final decision which will be based solely on the procedural propriety of RESC‟s decision-making process. The researcher will be notified in writing within five working days of CRC‟s hearing. Monitoring Monitoring is, in the first instance, the responsibility of School Research Committees.

7. 7.1

7.2

At the final meeting of the academic year of each SRC, reports will be received from each of the gatekeepers within the School: a) certifying that this Code of Conduct has been implemented appropriately within the School; and, b) commenting, should it so desire, on the operation of the Code of Conduct.

7.3

The Chair of RESC will produce a separate report summarising her/his activities in the role of „gatekeeper‟. These reports will be considered by RESC and a composite report on the work of the Sub-Committee including, if appropriate, responses to any comments made on the operation of the Code of Conduct, will be submitted by RESC to the first meeting of the Institution Research Committee in the following academic year.

7.4

Research Ethics 1 RESEARCH ETHICS STATEMENT (STAFF)

School Name Project Title Please sign either the statement at (a) or at (b) and take the appropriate action. (a) I certify that this research project does not contradict the Edge Hill Research Ethics Signed Code of Conduct (Sign and pass directly to your gatekeeper. The project does not require any further approval.) Date (b) I certify that this research project may require the authorisation of the Edge Hill Signed Research Ethics Sub-Committee and hereby submit it to the appropriate gatekeeper. (Sign and pass directly to your gatekeeper attaching a full copy of the research proposal. She/he will give you feedback on the action to be taken.) Date The gatekeeper should examine the research proposal and respond in one of the following ways (a) It is my opinion that this project conforms to Signed the Edge Hill Research Ethics Code of Practice and that it may proceed forthwith Date (b) It is my opinion that this project requires the Signed authorisation of the Edge Hill Research Ethics Sub-Committee before it can proceed. (Please give brief reasons at (c) below.) Date

(c) Reasons for recommending referral to the RESC

Research Ethics 2 RESEARCH ETHICS STATEMENT (TAUGHT POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS)

School Course Cohort Student’s Name

I hereby notify that I have received and read a copy of the Edge Hill Research Ethics Code of Practice and that, in undertaking the research for a dissertation project or for any other piece of work associated with the course, I will adhere to that Code.

Signature

Date

CHECKLIST OF QUESTIONS TO BE CONSIDERED PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF RESEARCH (Taken from: Steve Olivier, (2000). „Informed Consent In Sport Science‟, Sportscience 4(3), sportsci.org/jour/0003/so.html „Given the nature of the concept and its underlying ethical principles, researchers should not treat the informed consent process as merely a set of administrative obstacles to be cleared. Nevertheless, it is acknowledged that a “checklist approach” may at least assist in preventing unintentional malpractices, and may serve to sensitize researchers to issues surrounding the concept of informed consent. Accordingly, below are a series of questions that should be considered before research commences:    Has voluntary, written, first-person informed consent been obtained? In the case of children, have you obtained the necessary parental consent, and the child‟s assent? If you are using vulnerable populations (e.g. the aged, wards of the state or other agencies, etc) have you adequately considered their rights, and how this affects any ethical issues pertaining to your project? Are you satisfied that, notwithstanding the above two categories, participants fully understand the nature of the project, including any risks or potential benefits? Are you satisfied that they understand that they are free to ask questions at any time, and that they can withdraw from the project whenever they want to? Has any coercion occurred during the recruitment process? (Here you need to be clear on issues such as the researcher also being a teacher or assessor of subjects‟ work, particularly in the case of students) Has the subject been allowed a “cooling off” period to consider participation? (the time between reading the form and actually agreeing to take part) What is the likelihood of physical, psychological, and social harm to subjects? Have you provided medical or other appropriate backup in the event of any potential harm in the categories mentioned above? Is it necessary to provide medical or other screening, in the light of potential harm? Have you adequately assessed the impact of any cultural or gender issues that may pertain to your subjects, and/or the dissemination of your findings? Have you given adequate assurances regarding privacy, confidentiality, anonymity, and how will you securely store and treat your data? Have you deceived your subjects as to the true nature of your study? (If so, this deception must be justified on stringent grounds, e.g. absence of harm, vital to methodology, debriefing afterwards) Have you set measures in place to provide subjects with feedback/information on completion of the project? And lastly, have you received approval from your appropriate institutional Ethics Committee?‟

  

      

 

\Research_Ethics_Code


				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Tags: A-PRO, POSED
Stats:
views:8
posted:11/27/2009
language:English
pages:16
Description: A-PROPOSED-RESEARCH-ETHICS-CODE-OF-CONDUCT-FOR-EDGE-HILL