Canterbury Christ Church University have clearly defined Ethics Policies governing research which can be downloaded here:
ETHICS POLICY FOR RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN PARTICIPANTS
2 ETHICAL AND LEGAL ISSUES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN PARTICIPANTS
3 RESEARCH REQUIRING ETHICAL REVIEW
3.1 Self-Assessment Checklist
3.2 Criteria for Applying to the Faculty Research Ethics Committee (FREC)
3.3 Criteria for Applying an NHS Research Ethics Committee
3.4 Criteria for Applying to a Social Care Ethics Committee
4 THE FACULTY RESEARCH ETHICS COMMITTEES (FREC)
4.1 The role of the Faculty Research Ethics Committees
4.2 Membership of the Committees
4.3 Operation of the Committees
To meaningfully apply the ethical principles described in An Introduction to Ethics Issues and Principles in Research Involving Human Participants (CCCU, 2006) in research, they must be integrated in such a way as to ensure that they relate specifically to individual researchprojects and are not applied in a formulaic fashion. This necessitates careful thought and insight combined with sensitivity to the context of the specific research so as to identify its unique contribution and to protect the rights of research participants. Where an exception to a particular principle is claimed the onus lies with the individual researcher to demonstrate that this is justified.
Difficulties can arise in applying ethical principles to specific research proposals not least because there are a variety of philosophical approaches to ethical problems; debate between the varying schools of thought can help to inform ethical decisions and ensure an evolving context for ethical approaches. Effective guiding principles also depend on procedures and policies for their implementation. Typically, the review is undertaken in local research institutions by independent, multidisciplinary research ethics committees that apply substantive and procedural norms. This Policy is consistent with that model.
The following sections outline the standards to be adopted when seeking Ethical Review within the University; the procedures to be followed are outlined in the University’s Ethical Procedures for the Conduct of Research involving Human Participants (CCCU, 2006).
3. RESEARCH REQUIRING ETHICAL REVIEW
For the purposes of this policy, research is defined as work which involves a systematic investigation to establish understanding, facts, principles or generalisable knowledge. The policy covers any research involving human participants, however tangentially. Ethical practice in the management of research requires that a body, independent of the research team, examines the research design and system for protecting participant's interests so as to judge their ethical acceptability and their accountability. All research work involving human participants must, therefore, undergo ethical review. This will be conducted by multidisciplinary and independent reviewers including, where appropriate or relevant, consumers. The review committee, whether internal or external, is intended to help to ensure that ethical principles are applied to any research involving human participants.
The Faculty Research Ethics Committees (defined and explained later in Section 4) therefore have both educational and review roles thus serving as consultative bodies and contributing to education in research ethics. They are also responsible for independent, multidisciplinary review of the ethics of research to determine whether the research should be permitted to start or to continue. This Policy defines the steps required to determine whether individual projects need an ethical review before that project starts, and sets out the criteria for approaching the appropriate reviewing body.
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