Computing, Engineering and Media Ethics Procedures

De Montfort University recognises the need for research to be conducted with integrity at all levels and by everyone conducting research. CEM faculty staff and students who wish to undertake primary data collection for research (academic or commercial) must obtain ethics approval. Primary data collection must not begin until the correct ethics approval procedures have been completed and written authorisation of the proposed study, from the relevant ethics review panel, has been obtained.

To obtain ethical approval, please ensure that the study-appropriate procedures are followed (as detailed below).

The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act 2023

The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act 2023 (Part A1 (6)) supports academic staff with “academic freedom”- means their freedom within the law without placing themselves at risk of being adversely affected:

(a) to question and test received wisdom, and
(b) to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions.

High Risk Applications

Please note that the university recommends that Undergraduate (UG) / Postgraduate Taught (PGT) students should not undertake such research.

For staff and postgraduate research (PGR) students, please take note of Appendix 2: Framework for identifying research ethics risk within the university’s Research Ethics Code of Practice.

Wherever possible, staff and post-graduate research applications that are high risk should be considered by a full Faculty Research Ethics Committee. Researchers should provide an annual report of high-risk research to the approving committee – please contact your Faculty Research Ethics Committee for further information.

Worktribe

Important - Undergraduate (UG) / Postgraduate Taught (PGT) students only: please read the CEM Guidance below as a Research Ethics Screening Questions Form decision is required in the first instance.

Applications for ethics approval at DMU are handled through the Worktribe system. Worktribe lets us write, submit, review, revise and ultimately approve ethics applications without having to send documents back and forth via email or in paper format.

You can access Worktribe using your DMU single sign-on details (your P-number and password, for students). Once your account is activated and you have access, you can begin your ethics application through your profile on the "Ethics Applications" page.

Links to university Worktribe ethics training videos and user guides (for all ethics applicants, supervisors, reviewers and module ethics officers) are available through the ‘Help’ tab > Help Topics > 3. Ethics Training for Worktribe on the menu bar within the Worktribe system.

Contacts

 


  1. Staff & Postgraduate Research (PGR) Students

    Research Ethics Screening Questions Form

    In order to determine if a full ethical application is required, please complete a Research Ethics Screening Questions Form. A faculty requirement is that you should also include a brief project description.

    Staff should send the form and brief project description to ethics.cem@dmu.ac.uk.

    PGR student supervisor’s should send the form and brief project description to ethics.cem@dmu.ac.uk.

    Following an assessment, you will be advised if:

    • Additional information is required;
    • A full Worktribe application is required (go to the Ethics Application Procedures below)
    or
    • No further action necessary

    Ethics Application Procedures

    Worktribe applications should be prepared and submitted for approval at least 8 weeks in advance of the research taking place. For PGR applications, your supervisor will approve the application for submission. Following submission approval, the application will sit under status “Triage”.

    A CEM local requirement for staff & PGR student applications is your nominated first reviewer name.

    The nominated reviewer must:

    (i) be a DMU staff member, at Senior Lecturer level and above;
    (ii) be familiar with the subject matter; and
    (iii) not be a member of the PhD academic study team.

    Therefore, prior to submitting an application please contact your potential reviewer and confirm that they are able to review your application and following confirmation, submit your application and provide the reviewer’s name in the comments area (e.g. Nomimated First Reviewer is Tom Jones).

    A member of the Faculty Research Ethics Committee (FREC) will serve as second reviewer and will approve or reject applications.

    Please be aware that the ethics review stage takes a minimum of 2-3 weeks to process (excluding unforeseen circumstances, e.g. holidays, strike action, etc.). This applies each time the member of staff & PGR and supervisor resubmit an amended application.

    For Worktribe access please refer to the Computing, Engineering and Media Ethics Procedures home page above.

    Supporting Document Templates

    If your study involves human participants, then participant forms (Information Sheet, Consent Forms, etc.) may need to be uploaded to the “Documents” section of the Worktribe application. Please use the editable participant form templates available below.

    DMU Research Ethics Code of Practice

    The university’s Research Ethics Code of Practice must be read and referred to by all applicants, supervisors, module/programme leaders and reviewers when completing/assessing an ethics application.

    DMU Policies and Guidance

    All other DMU Policies and Ethical guidance can be found at the DMU Policies and Resources web page. This includes lone worker, considerations for research involving children and young people, general data protection regulations and good research practice.

    Sensitive Research

    All information on the processes and provisions relating to sensitive research can be found in the links below:

    Sensitive Research Guidance

    Sensitive Research Form

    Faculty Ethics Committee Chair

    Professor Kathleen Richardson
    Faculty Head of Research Ethics
    Chair of CEM Research Ethics Committee
    kathleen.richardson@dmu.ac.uk

     

    Checklist

    Please ensure that you have included the following in your application:

    • project start and finish dates;
    • your document checklist (please go to the “Help” tab, “Document Repository”);
    • attachments;
    • applications must be submitted by the module leader or programme leader;
    • following submission approval, the application should now sit under status “Triage”.

    For information purposes please note that, within Worktribe, applications should be reassigned to CEM Ethics Officer Group.

  2. Undergraduate (UG) / Postgraduate Taught (PGT) Students

    Research Ethics Screening Questions Form

    In order to determine if a full ethical application is required, please complete a Research Ethics Screening Questions Form, which should also include a brief project description. Your supervisor should email it to ethics.cem@dmu.ac.uk. Following an assessment, you will be advised if:

    • additional information is required;
    • a full Worktribe application is required (go to the Ethics Application Procedures below); or
    • no further action necessary.

    Ethics Application Procedures

    Low risk applications: in line with DMU policy, UG / PGT research (approved at a programme level) should fall within this category. Applications require a single review at programme level. For ease of reference please refer to the Faculty Guidance on low risk research for UG PGT students.

    Medium risk applications: in exceptional circumstances, medium risk research can be approved after consultation with the Faculty Head of Research Ethics, Professor Kathleen Richardson (kathleen.richardson@dmu.ac.uk).

    Medium risk applications are escalated to the Faculty Research Ethics Committee (FREC) for review. Please refer to DMU Research Ethics Code of Practice (Appendix 2: Framework for Identifying Research Ethics Risk) available on the DMU policies and external requirements web page.

    High risk applications: please note that the university recommends that UG/PGT students should not undertake such research.

    For UG/PGT applications, your supervisor will approve the application for submission. Following submission approval, the application will sit under status “Triage”.

    For Worktribe access please refer to the Computing, Engineering and Media Ethics Procedures home page above.

    Supporting Document Templates

    If your study involves human participants, then participant forms (Information Sheet/Consent Forms, etc.) may need to be uploaded to the “Documents” section of the Worktribe application. Please use the editable participant form templates available below.

    DMU Research Ethics Code of Practice

    The university’s Research Ethics Code of Practice must be read and referred to by all applicants, supervisors, module/programme leaders and reviewers when completing/assessing an ethics application or screening form. 

    DMU Policies and Guidance

    All other DMU Policies and Ethical guidance can be found at the DMU Policies and Resources web page. This includes lone worker, considerations for research involving children and young people, general data protection regulations and good research practice.

    Sensitive Research

    All information on the processes and provisions relating to sensitive research can be found in the links below:

    Sensitive Research Guidance

    Sensitive Research Form

    Faculty Ethics Committee Chair

    Professor Kathleen Richardson
    Faculty Head of Research Ethics
    Chair of CEM Research Ethics Committee
    kathleen.richardson@dmu.ac.uk

     

    Checklist

    Please ensure that you have included the following in your application:

    • project start and finish dates;
    • your document checklist (please go to the “Help” tab, “Document Repository”);
    • attachments;
    • applications must be submitted by the module leader or programme leader;
    • following submission approval, the application should now sit under status “Triage”.

    For information purposes please note that, within Worktribe, applications should be reassigned to CEM Ethics Officer Group.

  3. Module-Level Block Approval Applications

    Deadline dates for academic year 2024/25

    Block 1 and 2
    Screening form deadline: 07/07/2024
    Worktribe app deadline: 21/07/2024
    Worktribe application approval: 02/09/2024

    Block 3 and 4
    Screening form deadline: 10/11/2024
    Worktribe app deadline: 24/11/2024
    Worktribe application approval: 31/01/2025

    Block 5 and 6
    Screening form deadline: 16/03/2025
    Worktribe app deadline: 30/03/2025
    Worktribe application approval: 30/04/2025

    Research Ethics Screening Questions Form

    In the first instance, the module/programme leader should have a discussion with the Faculty Head of Research Ethics, Prof Kathleen Richardson (kathleen.richardson@dmu.ac.uk) to determine if the study meets the criteria for Block Approval.

    Following criteria approval by the Faculty Head of Research Ethics, in order to determine if a full ethical application is required, please complete a Research Ethics Screening Questions Form, which should also include a brief project description. This should be emailed to ethics.cem@dmu.ac.uk. Following an assessment, you will be advised if:

    • additional information is required;
    • a full Worktribe application is required (go to the Ethics Application Procedures below); or
    • no further action necessary.

    Ethics Application Procedures

    For Worktribe access please refer to the Computing, Engineering and Media Ethics Procedures home page above.

    Whilst ethical review is normally done on a project‐by‐project basis, it is recognised that, for UG/PGT level, there are occasions where students may complete very similar or identical low risk projects. In such cases, it may be proportionate to approve research at a programme or module level, rather than individually for each student.

    Such cases will be typified by, for the most part, a consistency in research processes and methods. This will include projects where pedagogic research might be involved, and where students are engaged as co‐producers of knowledge through the undertaking of research in their capacity as consultants.

    Please note that Block Approval:

    • is not judged appropriate for Dissertation Modules;
    • applies where basic research is undertaken by students as part of a taught module on a routine basis;
    • is where the research is part of a programme of work assessed to be of extremely low risk. For ease of reference please refer to the Faculty Guidance on low risk research for UG PGT students;
    • applications must be submitted by the module leader or programme leader via the Worktribe System.

    Please see the Block ethics approval for UG and PGT levels – guidance and form.

    Block Approval Applications must be submitted by the module leader or programme leader via the Worktribe System. At the front of the application’s title, please include the wording “Block Approval”. As you are submitting a block application as a student project in Worktribe, you will be listed as the applicant and supervisor. After you submit your application, make sure to approve it for review as supervisor. Following submission approval, the application will sit under status “Triage”.

    Please be aware that the ethics review will be carried out by 3 FREC members and it can take a minimum of 2-3 weeks to process (excluding unforeseen circumstances, e.g. holidays, strike action, etc.). This applies each time the student and supervisor resubmit an amended application.

    Supporting Document Templates

    If your study involves human participants, then participant forms (Information Sheet/Consent Forms, etc.) may need to be uploaded to the “Documents” section of the Worktribe application. Please use the editable participant form templates available below.

    For Worktribe access please refer to the Computing, Engineering and Media Ethics Procedures home page above.

    DMU Research Ethics Code of Practice

    The university’s Research Ethics Code of Practice must be read and referred to by all applicants, supervisors, module/programme leaders and reviewers when completing/assessing an ethics application or screening form. 

    DMU Policies and Guidance

    All other DMU Policies and Ethical guidance can be found at the DMU Policies and Resources web page. This includes lone worker, considerations for research involving children and young people, general data protection regulations and good research practice.

    Sensitive Research

    All information on the processes and provisions relating to sensitive research can be found in the links below:

    Sensitive Research Guidance

    Sensitive Research Form

    Faculty Ethics Committee Chair

    Professor Kathleen Richardson
    Faculty Head of Research Ethics
    Chair of CEM Research Ethics Committee
    kathleen.richardson@dmu.ac.uk

     

    Checklist

    Please ensure that you have included the following in your application:

    • project start and finish dates;
    • your document checklist (please go to the “Help” tab, “Document Repository”);
    • attachments;
    • applications must be submitted by the module leader or programme leader;
    • following submission approval, the application should now sit under status “Triage”.

    For information purposes please note that, within Worktribe, applications should be reassigned to CEM Ethics Officer Group.