Any research project that involves human participation conducted through this course (for example, a questionnaire or survey, or system user-evaluation, etc.) must have independent review by a Research Ethics Committee before its commencement.
Individual applications are considered on their own merits. A basic principle is that prospective participants should be fully informed about the research and its implications for them as participants, with time to reflect on the possibility for both risk and benefit derived from participation, prior to being asked to sign an informed consent form. Informing prospective participants fully includes declaring potential conflicts of interest that the researcher may have in conducting the research, detailing how participants may withdraw data associated with their participation from further analysis within the study, explaining the preservation of their anonymity within the study, warning them about potential consequences of discovery during the study of issues that would necessarily have precedence over assurances of anonymity, and so on.
Research Ethics submissions fall into one of two possible categories: Level 1 and Level 2. A Level 2 submission is one that involves minors or topics for which College requires a legal expert to participate in the Committee. The SCSS Research Ethics Committee will convene itself as a Level 2 Committee only a small number of times through the year: Reading Week in Michaelmas Term, the first week of Hilary Term and during Reading Week of Hilary Term. Applications for Level 2 approval should be submitted no later than one week prior to these meetings. The Research Ethics Committee will take Level 2 submissions to the Level 1 sittings of the Committee in order to anticipate issues that may arise during the Level 2 deliberations, where those applications are made well in advance of the final submission deadline for Level 2 applications. For Level 1 applications, the Research Ethics Committee will consider each application and normally provide a response within two weeks but not more than one month later. You will receive an acknowledgement that your application has been received.
It takes time to prepare an application for research ethics approval, to have the application considered, and to respond to feedback on the application where issues are raised. You should plan in your work for the time it takes to obtain research ethics approval.
To apply for research ethics approval, you will need to login to the Ethics Application system. If this is your first time using the online system, you will need to register as a new user.
All applications must be reviewed and signed by the research Supervisor or Principal Investigator on the project. This signature confirms an assertion that the application is complete in terms of its formal requirements; it does not stand as proxy for ethical approval. Forms which are not signed or not presented at an acceptable standard (eg: incomplete or containing excessive typographical or grammatical errors) will be returned and may therefore incur delays for the researchers involved.
Retrospective approval will not be granted.
Please also note, research conducted in the School of Computer Science and Statistics should be undertaken with cognisance of the TCD Guidelines for Good Research Practice.