Research essentials

How to apply for research ethics committee approval

This article explores when and where ethical approval is required and how this should be undertaken.
Presenting to a committee

This article explores when and where ethical approval is required and how this should be undertaken

Research ethics normally refers to the moral principles that guide research (Economic and Social Research Council [ESRC] 2015). Research ethical approval is a requirement when undertaking health research. Securing ethical approval usually involves the chief investigator applying to a relevant ethics committee where the study is considered by a panel of experts and lay members to decide if the research is safe and justified.

Geek speak Chief investigator

Takes responsibility for the conduct of the proposed research.

In the UK, when research involving children and young people and/or families requires recruitment from a healthcare setting, approval will be needed from the NHS Research Ethics Committee (NREC).

Approval will also be needed from the local research and development (R&D) office on the site where the research

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