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Ethics Committee


All research involving human subjects or human subject data must undergo an ethical review before respondents are recruited and fieldwork commences. Research undertaken within the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work is generally reviewed by one of two ethical committees. This page primarily focuses on research to be reviewed by the School Research Ethics Committee (SREC).

However, if your research is in the field of health/social care, involves health/social care services users, patients or staff, needs to access service user/patient/ staff data, or involves taking tissue samples or testing medical interventions, your project will most likely require an ethical opinion from an HSC Research Ethics Committee. Full details of the application process, including guidance for applicants and details of the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS), can be found on the Office for Research Ethics Committee (ORECNI).

Structure of webpage

School Research Ethics Committee Membership

Scheduled meeting dates (2015/6)

SREC Ethical Review process (including forms to complete)

Step 1: Peer Review

Step 2: Ethical Review

Sample documentation

Useful links

School Research Ethics Committee (SREC) Membership

The remit of SREC is to ensure that all research carried by students and staff under the auspices of the School of Sociology, Social Policy, and Social Work (SSPSW) has undergone ethical scrutiny and has gained approval prior to commencement. Please contact the Committee Chair or Secretary should you have any questions regarding an ethics application.

Dirk Schubotz (Chair)

Mike Corman

Nina O'Neill

Eileen Gray (Secretary)

Marie-Louise Corr

Audrey Roulston

Veronique Altglas

Teresa Degenhardt

Andy Percy

Michelle Butler

Eoin Flaherty

Elizabeth Martin (PGR)

Emma Calvert

David Hayes

Grainne Boyle (PGR)

Anne Campbell

Kathy Higgins

Sarah Lawrence (PGR)

Nicola Carr (sabbatical)

Cheryl Lawther


Gemma Carney

Siobhan McAlister



Scheduled Meetings 2015/6

  • 30 September 2015
  • 2 December 2015
  • 27 January 2016
  • 2 March 2016
  • 27 April 2016
  • 29 June 2016

SREC Ethical Review process

To allow the SREC Committee to facilitate an effective and speedy review, it is important that all necessary documents are submitted. The process comprises of two main steps:

Step 1: Peer Review
Step 2: Ethical Review

These steps are undertaken slightly differently, depending on whether you are an undergraduate student, postgraduate student (PGR/PGT) or staff member.

Step 1: Peer Review

You are...Peer review processForms
An undergraduate student The peer review of your UG dissertation is undertaken by your supervisor. Your supervisor should complete the GOV 1 form.
A postgraduate student (PGT) The peer review of your PG dissertation is undertaken by your supervisor. Your supervisor should complete the GOV 1 form.
A postgraduate student (PGR) The peer review is undertaken by your differentiation panel. The Chair of your differentation panel should complete the GOV 1 form.
A staff member

For guidance, please consult the Peer Review Flow Chart.

  • Peer review is often provided by research funders, especially in funding competitions (e.g., Research Councils or competitive tenders).
  • If this is not the case, e.g., for unfunded or self-funded research, you should organise that two other staff members provide the peer review.

Funded research: no further action required.

Unfunded/self-funded: your two nominated peer reviewers should each complete the GOV 1 form.

NB If your study requires ORECNI approval but has not undergone peer review, the PI will need to obtain two full peer reviews using the GOV 4 form

Step 2: Ethical Review

You are...Ethical review applicationForms
An undergraduate student Please consult the dissertation module guide for details. Your ethics application should include:
  • A summary of your methodology and a discusion of the ethical issues involved.
  • You should also supply project information sheets, consent forms and drafts of the data collection instruments (e.g. questionnaire, interview or focus groups schedules, observation schedules etc.).

You should submit the Research Ethics Approval Form along with your ethics application.

Your supervisor should also complete the following:

  • GOV 2 form (PI checklist)
  • GOV 1 form (evidence of peer review)

A postgraduate student (PGT)

A postgraduate student (PGR)

A staff member

For SREC ethical review, you should:

  • Complete the application form
  • If your research involves primary data collection, also include the following: participants information sheets, consent forms and draft data collection instruments, e.g., survey questionnaires, interview schedules, observation schedules and any other relevant support documents.

You should complete the SREC application form:

Remember to also include:

  • Data collection instruments
  • GOV 1/GOV 4 (evidence of peer review)
  • GOV 2 (PI check list)

Sample documentation

Useful links

Research Governance

The ethical review of research sits within a broader research governance framework. Research governance is about having a range of regulations, principles and standards of good practice to maintain the integrity of the research conducted within the University. Governance and integrity are essential to ensuring that the rights of research participants are safeguarded, that researchers have considered their own vulnerabilities when undertaking the research and risks to themselves and research participant are managed. Further details on the University’s Research Governance Framework can be found here. These pages also provided further details on such topics as indemnity, sponsorship, peer review, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and the HSC R&D Application Gateway.

Academy of Social Sciences

In March 2015, the Council of the Academy of Social Sciences formally adopted five guiding ethics principles for social science resarch. Please click here for further details.