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Faculty of Education

Education Ethics Frequently Asked Questions

Guidance on completing your form is embedded in the form itself, however FAQs are below to answer any queries.

You may find it helpful with the Full (Long) form to work interactively with the main part of form and the checklist which is on the last two pages of the document.

Please ensure before submission, that your supervisor is satisfied with everything you are proposing and has indicated this by completing the supervisor comments section, and that between you and your supervisor, the checklist has been completed. 


Q: How should I submit my form? 

A: All forms should be submitted electronically to your supervisor. You must submit your form from your Liverpool Hope student email account, or Liverpool Hope staff account. For security reasons we only accept forms submitted in this way. If you submit a form from your personal email account it will not be accepted which could result in your form missing the deadline. 


Q: Which form should I complete? 

A: The most up to date versions of all our ethics forms are available on the main Ethics Sub-Committee web page. If your research does not involve human beings, you should use the short form; in all other circumstances you should use the full (long) form. It is your responsibility to complete and submit the correct form, ensuring all sections are completed. Incomplete or incorrect forms submitted will automatically be returned to you for correction. If you are unsure, please ask your supervisor for guidance. 


Q: I missed the submission deadline, what should I do?

A: If you have missed the submission deadline, there are two options available. One, wait until the next time the sub-committee meets. Two, you ask your supervisor to see if you request can be considered outside the normal processes. If you do this you will need to justify why you missed the deadline, and why it is important that your application be considered (if for example your course is due to end, or there is a particular event you need to include)


Q: Can I get my ethics approved after I have begun my research?

A: No, there are no circumstances in which this can happen. The University is extremely clear that no one can have their ethics approved retrospectively. If you go ahead with your fieldwork without proper ethical clearance, you will be liable for any issues which arise, and you will not be allowed to use any of the data in your completed piece of work.


Q: How long is my ethics approval valid for?

A: Normally, unless otherwise stated, your ethics approval lasts for the duration of your course.


Q: How secure does data I collect really need to be?

A: If you are keeping hard copies of data it really must be kept in a secure locked cupboard or drawer. For electronic data you need to password protect individual files, not just your PC or laptop.


Q: How long should I keep the data I have collected?

A: This can depend on the research you are doing, and if for example you wish to do further research from your data. You should at the very least keep it until you have completed your course. You need to allow for resits, illness or other unforeseen circumstances which could affect your anticipated completion date. However, your form and Research Information Sheet(s) must clearly state when the data will be destroyed.


Q: Who do I need to seek consent from? 

A: Consent should be sought from ALL participants, irrespective of age or ability. With children (anyone up to the age of 18) you will need to seek parental consent. The University strongly encourages, but does not insist, that you seek the consent of the child too; depending upon the ages of the children involved, you may need to adapt either or both of the Research Information Sheet and Consent Form. If your research involves adults whose ability to give full consent is impaired, you must seek your supervisor's guidance on how to deal with this.


Q: I don’t think there are any risks to my research, do I need to complete this part?

A: All research has potential risks; these may be minimal, but you need to demonstrate that you have considered them. 'No' or 'N/A' is acceptable as a response to the prompt about Physical Risk, but not to the prompt to Psychological risk in this section. 


Q: What happens if I want to change my project slightly?

A: If you are changing an aspect of your project it might need re-approval. Please discuss this with your supervisor.


Q: I’ve had a great idea on further study; can I use the data from research that has been ethically approved?

A: The answer to this is no, not automatically. The issue here is consent. If your participants agreed to you using the data you collected for a specific purpose, then if you want to use it for something else, you must go back and seek consent for the new use. It may not always be possible to locate individuals at a later date to seek additional consent, if this happens you cannot use their data.   


Q: Do I need ethical approval for research using data in the public domain - eg. Ofsted Inspection data - of particular schools or HEIs?

A: Yes, the Faculty of Education policy is very clear that all research requires ethical approval. 


Q: It seems to me that the processes and forms do not easily meet the needs of researchers using ethnographic methods. Much ethnographic work will involve, among other things, chance encounters/overheard conversations etc., especially where one is a participant observer. Such encounters, or conversations are, by definition, not pre-planned so one cannot obtain prior consent to use the data so collected. Can that data be used, either in direct form (albeit without attributing it to a real named person) or as a guide to later enquiry?

A: It really does depend on the context and the data. In this situation you should have general consent which allows you to be collecting data for your research. Hopefully everyone will know you are conducting research and will appreciate that what they say is potential data. Probably the best thing is to ask the person concerned for permission, obviously the usual caveats around anonymity, confidentiality, right to withdraw etc. In terms of completing your ethics form please seek advice from your supervisor. 



If you would like to offer some feedback on our ethics pages, or have a question you think needs to be added, please email it to 

Your feedback really can make a difference.