What are the most common issues with applications?

This FAQ has been produced to answer the key questions researchers have about ethical review. Detailed information is provided in the SREC application form and we have also produced a series of short training videos. The UCC library also stocks texts and journal articles on research ethics. We also provide links below and in the SREC application form to useful UCC policies and websites associated with research ethics. Best of luck with your application.

What are the most common issues with applications?

  • Forgetting to complete the application checklist and/or the Self Evaluation Checklist.
  • Including 'interview questions' instead of research questions.
  • Not providing all required information such as how participants will be recruited, inclusion/exclusion criteria, etc. 
  • If excluding a certain cohort, for example under 18s, not showing how this will be done (detail in the information sheet and a tickbox on the consent form).
  • Failing to properly complete the declarations section and/or forgetting to sign and/or obtain supervisors’ signature (if applicable) on the form.
  • Forgetting to include required supporting documentation such as data collection instrument (copies of questionnaires/interview questions as applicable), information sheet, consent forms, recruitment materials, etc. which should be added to the end of the application form and scanned as one pdf.
  • Not adequately addressing storage requirements (see detailed guidance on the SREC Application Form).
  • Different things being said in the application form than on the supporting documentation.
  • Watch our video on this topic for further information:

What UCC-approved research data collection, storage and sharing apps / platforms can I use?

See the SREC application form for detailed advice on applications and platforms that are approved for use in research by UCC staff and students. All data, both anonymised and non-anonymised, including sensitive personal data, can be collected and stored on the following cloud platforms; Microsoft Products (OneDrive, Teams, SharePoint, Microsoft Forms, etc.) and Google Workspace Products (formerly Google G-Suite; Google Forms, Meet, Sheets, Drive etc.) subject to logging in to these services with your UCC credentials. UCC also has a site licence for Qualtrics for online survey data collection for academic research and research adjacent projects (click here for UCC's Qualtrics SharePoint site). Personal versions of Microsoft and Google Workspace apps should not be used to collect and/or store research data.

For comprehensive advice on approved data collection (online interviews, online focus groups, online surveys), data storage, and data sharing apps and platforms, see the SREC application form. See also the UCC Library Research Data Service and UCC IT storage options webpage. Please note that SREC has no role in approving apps or platforms for conducting research.

How do I get an app approved for research collection and storage?

The first step to getting a new app/platform approved for use in research at UCC is to complete the "IT System Request Form". Please note that SREC has no role in approving apps/platforms for collecting, storing, transcribing, or sharing research data. If you plan to use an app that is not currently approved by UCC, you must get approval from IT Services before you apply to SREC.

Where can I get advice on consent, including children consenting to research?

HSE "National Consent Policy" (2019) and related resources

Tusla, Child and Family Agency: "Guidance for Research Participants Under the Age of 18"

Department of Children and Youth Affairs (2012) "Guidance for Developing Research Projects Involving Children

Toolkit to support researchers with designing and conducting inclusive, accessible autism research.

Can I get retrospective SREC approval?

SREC cannot provide retrospective approval for research studies. It is essential that you secure ethical approval before you collect research data. Section 3.4 of the UCC Code of Conduct:

"3.4 Non-clinical research involving human participants (including behavioural experiments, interviewing and surveying) must be approved by the Social Research Ethics Committee (SREC)."

Do I need ethical approval to undertake research with students?

If you are collecting data from students for research purposes that you intend to use as part of a research output and/or plan to disseminate the findings beyond the university, SREC approval must be sought before the data is collected from students.

How do I update / amend a previously approved study?

For minor changes/amendments to previously approved applications please complete the attached SREC Ethics Amendment Request Form 2020 and submit it to srec@ucc.ie The amendment request will be logged and sent to the original reviewers where practicable.

  • Please quote the Application Log Number which you would have been given on receipt of your original application and include "Amendment Request" in the email subject line.
  • Briefly summarising the requested amendment in the body of the email.
  • Save your amendment request form and any supplementary documentation as one PDF document.

Where can I find information on COVID-19 and Research (including face-to-face data-collection)?

Please see https://www.ucc.ie/en/research/support/researchbusinesscontinuitysupports/ for more information on COVID-19 and research at UCC.

Where can I get advice on internet research?

Please refer to Guidance Document for Conducting Research on Online Platforms for help and guidance on this topic

Are financial incentives allowed in research?

Please refer to Guidance on the Use of Financial Incentives in Research for guidance on this topic.

Where can I locate ethics guidance on autoethnographic and ethnographic research?

Please refer to Ethics Guidance for Autoethnographic and Ethnographic Research for guidance on this topic.

Where can I get guidance on conducting research with vulnerable populations?

For guidance around conducting research with Vulnerable persons please see Vulnerability Guidance Document

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