Obtaining ethics approval for your research
It is important to determine what permissions and approvals are necessary for your research project at an early stage so that you can submit the necessary applications as soon as possible.
Ethics approval is a fundamental component of research activity but it can be complicated by the variety of ethics approval bodies, and by factors such as the characteristics of the research participants and where the research is taking place. Identifying the most appropriate process to follow is not necessarily straightforward and, given the individual nature of most research projects, there is no simple 'one size fits all' recommendation. It is also important to note that under the Mental Capacity Act (2005) and the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act (2000), any research involving adults who lack capacity requires ethics approval from a Research Ethics Committee recognised by the Secretary of State as an Appropriate Body for this purpose.
It is not usually possible to receive funding/grant payments or begin data collection until all the necessary permissions and approvals have been obtained. Please note that this process can take time, and this should be reflected in your project timetable.
Research Guide: Research governance and ethics
This guide provides general guidance, together with signposting to those resources where more detailed information may be obtained on ethics approval issues.
Researchers should also be familiar with the relevant country specific Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care.
- Department of Health: Research governance framework for health and social care: second edition (April 2005)
- Scottish Executive Health Department Research Governance Framework for Health and Community Care (Second Edition, 2006)
- Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Research governance framework for health and social care (2007)