IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Ethics applications: IOE staff

Information for applications reviewed by the IOE Research Ethics Committee (REC).

Pausing, terminating, or moving data collection online

Starting or resuming face-to-face fieldwork

Staff Ethics Guidance

All research activities which collect or use data from human participants including secondary data analysis, systematic reviews and pilot studies, are required to gain ethical approval before data collection begins regardless of whether your research is funded or self-funded.

Ethics review applications

Please submit your ethics application for review by the IOE Research Ethics Committee using this MS Form:

Submit ethics application

Informed consent guidance

It is expected that informed consent will be gained from all participants in research. The IOE Research Ethics Committee will request to see information sheets and consent forms when you submit your application. If you do not intend to use these documents then this will need to be addressed in your ethics application.

The links below give templates and further guidance for an information sheet and consent form suitable for adult participants and meeting GDPR regulations. It is good practice to have these on two separate documents. It should be noted that these are guidelines only; these documents need to be suitable for the audience that you are giving them to. An information sheet designed for research with children, for instance, will look quite different to the sort of information sheet you would give to professionals who you are interviewing.

Staff Ethics Application Form

Projects previously approved by external institutions

For those seeking IOE approval or recording for a project that received ethical approval elsewhere, please complete sections 1, 9 and 10 of the ethics form. Please, send the completed form, all documents supplied to the external research institution, and the copy of the approval letter issued by the external research ethics committee to ioe.researchethics@ucl.ac.uk

Amendments to approved projects

If your amendment concerns moving research online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, refer to the IOE guidance for pausing or terminating research, or moving data collection online.

For those who are seeking amendments to projects previously approved by the IOE Research Ethics Committee, there will be a triage system (to establish whether it needs to be reviewed by the Chair of the Committee or whether it requires a full ethics review, in which case a new application may need to be submitted). Please contact ioe.researchethics@ucl.ac.uk with details of the nature of the amendments required, quoting the title of the original project, the year of approval and where possible, the REC reference number recorded on the original approval letter.

Please note the processing time for such requests is the same as the ethics application review timeframes (please refer to guidance on expedited reviews if needed):

  • Expedited review – 15 working days
  • Standard review – 30 working days

IOE Research Ethics Applications and the UCL Research Ethics Committee

There are particular circumstances when the IOE Research Ethics Office would deem a research ethics application needed to be sent to the UCL Research Ethics Committee for review. We would notify the PI and indicate the process to be followed. IOE researchers should not send any research ethics applications to the UCL Research Ethics Committee themselves. The following draws on UCL Research Ethics Guidance definitions of areas of high risk to indicate these circumstances: when a research ethics application concerns:

  • Vulnerable groups Intrusive interventions (including MRI)
  • Overseas clinical trials
  • Sensitive topics
  • Real risk of harm to either participants or researchers
  • Scraping data
  • Deception, involving actively misinforming or purposefully not fully informing participants what their participation entails or the true purpose of the research
  • Covert methods; actively hiding the observation of, or other data collection from participant(s), where the participant(s) would otherwise have a reasonable expectation of privacy (applies both in person and online)

Research misconduct procedure

In the event a complaint or allegation of misconduct regarding an IOE research project is submitted to the Chair of the IOE Research Ethics Committee (REC), this will be investigated at local level in the first instance, in line with UCL's Procedure for investigating and resolving allegations of misconduct in academic research (please see section A6 of the procedure). 
IOE procedures for investigating and resolving research misconduct allegations will be as below:

  1. The Principal Investigator (PI) will be contacted to inform them of the allegation. They will be asked for more information and asked to cease data collection temporarily while the investigation is pending.
  2. The IOE REC will advise the PI on the outcome of the investigation and, if required, will make recommendations on appropriate action as follows:
  • In less serious cases, IOE research guidance will be reinforced and/or training will be provided to project investigators. 
  • In more serious instances of misconduct, the case will be escalated to the Registrar, as per the above UCL procedure. 

GDPR-compliant exemplars for guidance

The consent forms and participant information sheets should be used as exemplars only. Researchers are expected to develop their own forms and information sheets as appropriate for their research and not reproduce or copy the examples as templates.

All information sheets developed for research must also include a privacy notice. A template privacy notice can be found below, and more information can be found the UCL Privacy page.

For questions about information sheets: