Business and Law Procedures

Research Ethics and COVID 19

Following government guidance, and in line with information we are sending to PhD students, colleagues should not be putting themselves, or their research participants at risk by undertaking any face-to-face fieldwork presently and for the foreseeable future. For all researchers, where the approach can be changed to utilise remote methods, you will need to reflect on your ethics approval and consider whether an amendment needs to be made and further approved.  Please contact the Faculty Head of Research Ethics Professor Dave Walsh ( if you have any questions on this or email

These are challenging times and there has been a need to cease face-to-face research data collection with human participants. There are alternative ways of collecting data more remotely. A number of blogs and guides are emerging on this, see an example here. Any substantial variance to methods, may need updated ethical approval, please contact 

The need to cease face-to-face data collection is also true for our undergraduate and postgraduate taught students, as well as postgraduate research students and staff (as above).  All supervisors, at UG, PGT and PGR will need to ensure that students under their supervision, understand this need to immediately cease face to face data collection (and seek alternative means of data collection/ deferral or differing forms of module assessment).  PGR students have had information to this effect from the Doctoral College and it has also been agreed that interruptions are available for PGR students that need it, where data collection is not possible. If PGR supervisors have any questions on this, please get in contact with the Doctoral College.

Covid 19 data collection update - Research outside of the UK

Where there has been a relaxation in a certain country of social distancing rules AND the researcher is already in that country there may be scope for undertaking data collection face to face. However, before such data collection is authorised please advise the FREC Chair what the current measures are in that country (you may need to refer him to  an official website where it is made clear what those measures are and that they are current).

Further, in light of those rules you will need to provide a robust plan to show how data will be collected that will comfortably keep the researcher and their participants within those stated measures. "Comfortably being the key word here". That is, those proposals that are viewed as taking unnecessary risks are unlikely to be supported. Please await the FREC Chair's response and authorisation before commencing data collection. Until such data collection is authorised under these conditions enlisted here there should be no attempt to gather data. 

Please forward your request to

All students and staff who wish to undertake research activities will need to apply for ethical approval before commencing their research. The appropriate ethical approval form must be used.

Full guidelines are included in the faculty ethics guidelines below.

Please ensure procedures are followed or applications may be rejected. Please allow a minimum of 25 working days for staff and PGR applications to be processed.

What reviewers (should) look for when examining ethics applications - and what you (as applicants) then need to consider when completing your ethics application.

1. Forms - undergraduate/postgraduate taught, postgraduate researchers (PhD /MPhil students) and staff

Please ensure you read (and follow) submission guidance in section 5 before you submit your application.

Undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate taught (PGT) students

Stage 1:

All UG and PGT students must first complete a Preliminary Ethics (Triage) application form. This form will assess whether the applicant will need to go on to complete a full BAL ethics application form. The supervisor/module leader will authorise the form. Completed forms will need to be submitted to the relevant repository for the module on Blackboard.

Stage 2:

You only need to complete a full application if advised to do so.

Please see the guide below for help when completing UG and PGT Ethics form.

Guide to completing the UG and PGT Ethics Application Form

Presentation for UG and PGT students

Specimens of narratives for Section 2 of the application form (Aug 2019)

Podcast for UG and PGT students:


Postgraduate research students (PGRs) (PhD/MPhil)

Stage 1:

All PGRs must first complete a Preliminary Ethics (Triage) application form. This form will assess whether the applicant will need to go on to complete a full BAL Ethics Application form. Preliminary Ethics (Triage) application form to be submitted to BAL Research and Innovation Office:

Stage 2:

You will only need to complete a full BAL ethics application if advised to so following completion of the Preliminary Ethics (Triage) application form.


All staff must complete the PGR/Staff form if they are conducting primary research. Forms to be submitted to the BAL Research and Innovation Office:

2. Model statements for Researchers working off campus overseas or in the UK

Please see below for a model statement on how to increase researcher safety when working off campus either overseas or in the UK.
This is a model statement that can be inserted into the ethics application and what plans you should have in place in such circumstances.

3. Amendments

If you have completed a full ethics application and received ethical approval but wish to amend your study, this will need approval. Please complete an amendments form. 

Forms to be submitted to BAL Research and Innovation Office:

4. Sample Data Collection Templates

5. Codes of Research Ethics

List of online ethical resources for BAL researchers 

6. Submission Guidance

Full guidelines are included in the Faculty Ethics Guidelines below.  

Please ensure procedures are followed or applications may be rejected. Please allow a minimum of 25 working days for staff and PGR applications to be processed.

Student forms must be signed by the Researcher and Supervisor/ Module Leader. Staff forms must be signed by the Researcher and Line Manager/ Head of Department. All forms should be submitted electronically from a DMU email address. Electronic signatures will be accepted that are either typed/printed or a digital signature inserted as an image. Pdf /scanned in forms will not be accepted.

The application should be accompanied by the relevant documentation that will allow the Reviewer(s) to understand the nature of the project and the possible ethical issues. Please ensure copies of the research questions, consent form and participant information sheet and risk assessment (where appropriate) are included. Please also submit a research proposal to give an overview of your study. Please refer to the BAL Ethics Guidelines (page 6) for further details. Ethics applications and supporting documents should be sent in a zip file together, as one application. Individual files will not be accepted.

Application forms from undergraduate and postgraduate (taught) students should be uploaded to the relevant area (for that module) on Blackboard.

Postgraduate researcher and staff ethics applications should be completed electronically, signed and sent to BAL Research and Innovation Office:

7. Block Application form (staff only)

This application is made on behalf of students by, for example, their module leader.

For those students undertaking research requiring ethical authorisation and easement has been made where the following criteria has been met in totality:

  1. The projects do not involve any high-risk areas, or where the ethical risks are static and well-understood. Risk definitions are provided at Appendix 2.
  2. The project design and methodologies are static (or subject to only minor change).
  3. The risk of any unexpected ethics concerns arising is minimal, e.g. multisite, collaborative projects are at a higher risk of developing complications.
  4. There is no requirements for the student to complete ethics as part of their academic development.
  5. The relevant supervisor(s) are aware and capable for discharging their responsibilities for the conduct and integrity of the project.

If all five criteria are satisfied then a block application can be made.

Please note that applicants must also provide these details:

  1. Details as to what students have been taught concerning Research Ethics. That is, while this new process avoids students having to complete research ethics forms, they still need to be aware of research ethics. Copies of PowerPoint slides or other lecture briefs appended to this application form might well be good evidence.
  2. A plan (appended to the application) to demonstrate as to how the individual or group student projects covered within this application are to be managed to ensure that students stay within ethical parameters.

Faculty Head of Research Ethics

Professor Dave Walsh 
T: +44 (0)116 207  8047

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