Ethics procedures

A visual for the Process of Submitting Research Ethics Proposals through OREMS

Submission Process

The ethics process is designed to be supportive and facilitate high-quality research.

The documents you will need to provide depend on the risk of the project. Your responses on “Page 2: Determining Ethical Review Route” and “Page 7: Questions to determine level of risk” will be used to identify the level of risk associated with your project.

Low Risk Projects qualify for expedited review. These types of projects typically involve online surveys with adults about noncontentious issues. For such projects you will be asked to provide

  • Outline of the study design and a list of the procedures and/or activities
  • How participants will be identified and recruited
  • Outline how informed consent will be obtained prior to participation
  • Any other information – such as justification for face-to-face data collection
  • In separate documents, upload your recruiting, information letter, consent form, and supporting documents (such as study questionnaires, site approval, risk assessments, etc.)

High Risk Projects require a full review. High risk projects include things like recording participants (e.g., audio recording interviews), vulnerable participants (e.g., children), and sensitive topics. For such projects you will be asked to provide:

  • A summary of the
    • Project
    • Research Questions
    • Research Approach
    • Participants
    • Data Collection and analysis 
  • Consideration of the following prompts (as relevant)
    • Researcher access/exit
    • Power and participant relations
    • Information given to participants
    • Participant’s right of withdrawal
    • Informed Consent
    • Complaints procedure
    • Safety and well-being of participants/researchers
    • Anonymity/confidentiality
    • Data collection
    • Data analysis
    • Data storage
    • Data protection (see: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/secretary/data-protection/)
    • Feedback
    • Responsibilities to colleagues/academic community
    • Reporting of research

See http://www.bris.ac.uk/education/research/networks/ethicscommittee/links/ for links to relevant research ethics with human participants guidelines.

Accurately answering the questions in your OREMS application will automatically determine the risk associated with your project. Most projects going through the school of education are high-risk projects. If you are not asked to complete a high risk proposal, please confirm you have correctly responded to items on Page 7.

Regardless of the level of risk associated with your study, please ensure that all participant facing study documentation has been provided for review. This includes all the materials related to your study, which you will be asked to supply on “Page 5: Method of Data Collection”.

Submitting a Research Ethics Proposal

Follow the steps below to submit a research ethics proposal.

1. Create a proposal in the OREMS system. https://orems.bristol.ac.uk

  • Use your UoB single sign-on to log into the system. Your account will be automatically generated.
  • To begin an application
    • Select the “+ create project” under “Actions” menu (top left of screen)
    • In the dialogue box
      • Enter project title
      • Under form select “University of Bristol Research Ethics Application”
      • Select “Create”
  • To open application, select “Page 1: Researcher Details” found in the middle of the page
    • Faculty: Social Sciences and Law
    • School: School of Education
    • Research Ethics Committee to review application: School of Education (the exception to this is ESRC & UoB Widening Participation funded projects, which need to be reviewed by FSSL REC)

(the exception to this is ESRC & UoB Widening Participation funded projects, which need to be reviewed by FSSL REC)

You will be promoted to provide the information needed for your proposal as you complete the application. The information required depends on the risk associated with your project

2. Arrange a meeting with a fellow researcher. You must arrange to meet with a fellow researcher with relevant experience (e.g., same level of study) to discuss ethical aspects of your proposed research. After you have created your full proposal on OREMS, you can share this with your discussant

** Discussants must first log on to the OREMS system to create their accounts **

  • On the signatures page, select under Actions on the left
    • Discussant Signature
    • Under “Discussant Signature”
      • Select Signature
      • Enter in the UoB email address of Discussant
      • Enter message (optional)
      • Send

An email with the link to your application will be automatically sent to your discussant. This should allow your discussant to see all the content, including participant-facing information such as Recruiting Information, Information Sheets, Study Materials, and Debriefing Materials.

  • Requesting a signature means your form is locked (no editing)
  • Discussants can enter in comments by selecting the “speech bubble” at the top right of the page
  • Discussants should comment on things related to ethical practice and the participant experience
  • To Modify your materials as necessary based on this peer feedback,
    • Under Actions, select “Unlock”.
    • Comments can be seen by selecting the “speech bubble” on each page, or selecting Comments (under actions)
    • You will then need to again secure your discussant’s signature (this can be a straight sign-off on their part – no need to read again), before obtaining your supervisor’s signature (see below).

3. Send your OREMS application to your supervisor for their signature. After incorporating peer feedback, send your application to your supervisor for feedback. By selecting the relevant option on the last page of the application (“Signatures”), a link to your application will be automatically emailed to your supervisor.

i. Address Supervisor Comments. Your supervisor will read and comment on your application. Address their comments and re-send for their approval.

Note: you may need several back-and-forths with your supervisor before they are able to approve your application. 

4. Send to the SoE Research Ethics Committee for review. Once you have obtained your supervisor’s signature, you must sign the application and submit it for review (Under “Actions”, select “submit”).

To manage workflow, in 2021-22 it is likely that the committee will move from a continuous review process to having regular cut-off dates and decisions within a particular timeframe. More information forthcoming at the beginning of the academic year.

Submission Date

Reviewer Assigned

Committee Decision

Friday 29 October 2021

Monday 1 November 2021

Friday 12 November 2021

Friday 26 November 2021

Monday 29 November 2021

Friday 17 December 2021

Friday 17 December 2021

Monday 20 December 2021

Friday 21 January 2022

Friday 28 January 2022

Monday 31 January 2022

Friday 18 February 2022

Friday 25 February 2022

Monday 28 February 2022

Friday 18 March 2022

Friday 25 March 2022

Monday 28 March 2022

Tuesday 19 April 2022

Friday 29 April 2022

Tuesday 3 May 2022

Friday 20 May 2022

Friday 27 May 2022

Monday 30 May 2022

Friday 17 June 2022

Friday 24 June 2022

Monday 27 June 2022

Friday 8 July 2022

Friday 29 July 2022

Monday 1 August 2022

Friday 12 August 2022

 

i. Address Committee comments. A proportion of applications will be reviewed by the committee before approval and one of three decisions will be reached.

  • SoE Favourable Opinion: Your project is approved and you may now begin data collection activities.
  • SoE Conditional Opinion: Comments related to your project need to be address. These will be included in a summary email, but can also be found within your OREMS application at the relevant section. Revise your application, obtain supervisor signature (if needed), and re-submit your application to the committee for review.
  • SoE Unfavourable Opinion: Your application has been completed incorrectly or there is serious ethical flaws in your proposal that need to be addressed. Details will be provided in the email and comments with in the OREMS. Please work with your supervisor to improve your proposal and resubmit your application to the committee for review.   

Note: you may need several back-and-forths with your supervisor before they are able to approve your application.

5. SoE Favourable Decision. After receiving a favourable decision from the committee on your proposal, you may begin data collection. Only research with a favourable decision should be conducted within the SoE.

Remember to include evidence of the favourable decision in your dissertation.

How long will this process take?

Please don’t underestimate the amount of time needed to create your proposal and gain the necessary approvals. It usually takes a few drafts working your supervisor to improve the proposal, and then at least 3 weeks for review and processing by the committee. I recommend allocating no less than 6 weeks to this proportion of your research study. The anticipated start date associated with your study should reflect the time needed for review and processing your proposal.

If you are working on a time-sensitive project and urgently need your ethics proposal processed please email the SoE’s Research Ethics Committee Chair (Amanda Williams a.williams@bristol.ac.uk).

Additional support

  • Exemplar materials are provided for students in their Unit Blackboard pages.
  • If you are seeking ethical approval for a research project that is externally funded, please contact the SoE's Ethics Chair (Amanda Williams a.williams@bristol.ac.uk).

Any helpful suggestions about these procedures can be sent to the SoE Ethics Mailbox.

Edit this page