Ensuring we meet the highest standards

The School of Law has a Research Ethics and Governance Committee to ensure its research is designed and conducted to meet key ethical principles and is subject to formal oversight. The group aims to:

  • Own and maintain the School’s Research Ethics and Governance policy and processes
  • Consider requests for ethical approval of research projects from staff and postgraduate students
  • Monitor ethical approvals for undergraduate student projects
  • Advise researchers on the design and review of research to ensure integrity, quality and transparency
  • Advise researchers on data management plans and expectations
  • Provide regular reports and updates to the University Research Ethics and Governance Sub-Committee
  • Provide an annual summary of activity to the Head of College and the University Research Ethics Committee.

The committee meets once per term in January, May and September and when necessary at other times to consider ‘high risk’ applications.

The members of the committee are:

  • Richard Owen (Chair)
  • Sue Roberts (Deputy Chair)
  • Simon Baughen
  • Arwel Davies
  • Caroline Jones
  • Joe Whittaker
  • Penny Lauder (Secretary)

The Research Ethics Approval Process

Approval is required for research by staff members, or any postgraduate or undergraduate students for which they are responsible, that involves human participants or human datasets. In these circumstances you are required to seek ethical approval before the research begins from the committee. Please note however, that you are NOT required to gain approval for a funded project before the application for funding is made unless this is specific requirement of the funding body.

For staff and postgraduate research projects: Please begin the process by considering whether or not your research will raise any of the issues identified on the Light Touch Ethical Review Form. If not, simply send that form to the Committee. If any of these issues are raised by your research please proceed to complete a Full Ethical Review Form

If you are responsible for undergraduate students carrying out research that requires ethical approval they will need to be considered by the Undergraduate Sub-Committee. Please contact Penny Lauder directly for further information.

Full ethical approval applications will be subject to a process of risk assessment system. A meeting of the full Committee will be convened to consider applications that are assessed as 'high risk'. Please bear this in mind in considering the time frame for your research.

All forms should be returned to clcresearchethics@swansea.ac.uk copying in the Chair of the Committee at w.r.owen@swansea.ac.uk and the secretary Penny Lauder at p.j.lauder@swansea.ac.uk

If you are dissatisfied with the way in which your application has been dealt with by the committee you should first raise this with the Chair of the Committee, but if you remain dissatisfied with the approach you may appeal to the University College Research Ethics Committee. For further details please refer to the University’s Research Integrity Policy.

Guidance on Completing Research Ethics Applications

There are examples of successful applications by staff, PhD and Undergraduate students available on the School of Law Staff Site on Blackboard.

University research governance procedures and issues of consent and data management

For an outline of the University’s research governance procedures please see Research Integrity: A Policy Framework on Research Ethics & Governance. Sections I and J on Research Data Protection and Research Data Management pages 38-54 are particularly helpful.

Also helpful is the information on research ethics provided by the ESRC particularly the frequently asked questions which are available here.

Ethical research with children

Please note that a DBS certificate will be required for any researcher involved in a project with children. Please also note the requirement under the All Wales Child Protection Procedures 2008 for every person in contact with or working with children, young people and their families to:

  • Understand their role and responsibilities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • Be familiar with and follow their organisation’s procedures and protocols for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and know who to contact in their organisation to express concerns about a child’s welfare;
  • Be alert to indicators of abuse and neglect

You must therefore be familiar with the All Wales Child Protection Procedures and understand the principles and practice contained in Safeguarding Children: Working Together under the Children Act 2004.

For further guidance on ethical research with children see here.