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Research Ethics

The School is committed to ensuring that all research undertaken by its staff and students is conducted to the highest standards of integrity. Central to this is the consideration of ethical issues arising from research involving human participants, material, and data.  The School has established a Research Ethics Committee (REC) as a sub-committee of the School’s Education Committee to implement QUB’s policy on the ethical approval of research and to ensure that both student (UG, PT, and PGR) and staff research complies with best ethical practice.  The REC meets minimally three times a year to review all research projects that involve human participants in an ethically significant sense.  It is the responsibility of all staff and students to consider the ethical implications of their research projects. In particular, staff and students are expected to have read the School’s Guidelines and Procedures Governing Ethics in Research, and the University’s Policy on the Ethical Approval of Research.  Supervisors of student research (whether UG, PT, or PGR) are responsible for ensuring that their supervisees are aware of, and design and conduct their research in line with, best ethical practice.  Supervisors should also, where necessary, inform their supervisees of the various opportunities for research ethics training both within and outside the School.

All research projects that involve human participants, material or data (UG Dissertation & Project; MA Dissertation; PGR research; Staff research projects; etc) must undergo initial ethical review to ascertain whether they pose ethical problems. The student or staff member carrying out the research must complete a copy of the School’s Ethics Review Application Form, and pass it on to either their supervisor (in the case of student research) or their Director of Research (in the case of staff research). Once the supervisor or DR has completed their section of the form it should be forwarded to the Chair of the School REC (see the School’s Guidelines and Procedures Governing Ethics in Research for further details about the procedures operative at each level of research at this initial stage). Because most research conducted in the School does not involve human participants in a significant sense, ethical review will normally not go beyond this initial stage.  However, where students and staff are conducting research projects involving human participants, material, or data in a significant sense, submission of the Ethics Review Application Form to the Chair of the REC will initiate a second, formal review process.  The REC will consider the ethical implications of the research projects submitted and render a judgement in each case.  The REC meets in mid December, mid February, and early June.

Membership of the School REC

Dr Tom Walker (Chair)
Dr Elodie Fabre
Mr Conor O'Neill
Dr Bal Sokhi-Bulley (Lay Member)
Prof Graham Walker

Key Links

School Guidelines and Procedures Governing Ethics in Research (click here)

School Ethics Review Application Form ( click here)

QUB Regulations Relating to Research Involving Human Participants available from:(

QUB policy on Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults (including legislative requirements for research involving children and vulnerable adults)(

Further Links

Queen's University Research Governance

ESRC Research Ethics Framework

Ethical Principles for Researching Vulnerable Groups, Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister