Research and Evaluation Ethics
It is important that institutional research and evaluation is designed and conducted ethically and all researcher/evaluators are clear about consent; transparency; right to withdraw; incentives; harm arising from participation; privacy and data storage; and disclosure. This is particularly important if you are working with students as participants or co-evaluators.
STEER can offer ethical guidance and support on aspects of research and evaluation ethics within the institution.
STEER have designed a new ethical approval process for institutional service evaluations. If you are conducting strategic evaluations which are a) employed to explore how well the institution is performing against its intended aims and b) intending to generate data which will inform local decision making, then STEER can support a streamlined approval process.
The application form for a Category Approval of Institutional Service Evaluations (CAISE) can be found here: Category Approvals for Research Ethics Review_Form. A Category Approval can be obtained by completing this application form and submitting it to EthicsSupport@shu.ac.uk for approval by the University Research Ethics Committee (UREC). It is recommended that all submissions seek advice and guidance from a STEER colleague before submission.
|Institutional Research||Institutional Service Evaluation|
|Question/Problem||What factors affect access, success and progression in higher education for students who are care experienced or estranged?
|What impact is Sheffield Hallam’s Hardship Fund having on the retention rates for students who are care experienced or estranged?
|Aims/Objectives||Research generates new knowledge/adds to the body of knowledge on this topic area||Service evaluation conducted to determine how well the provision is performing against its intended aims|
|Ownership||Research conducted by Hallam staff||Service evaluation conducted by Hallam staff|
|Timespan||Time bound project||Routine evaluation for continuous improvement|
|Data collection||Hallam students or staff are included as research participants in the data collection, along with other HEIs||Sheffield Hallam students or staff are included as stakeholders and participants in the data collection|
|Ethical Approval||Completes a Converis Research Ethics Approval Submission||Old: Completes a Converis Research Ethics Approval Submission|
|New: Completes a Category Approval of Institutional Service Evaluations|
|Approval timespan||Approval bound by the time parameters of the project||Approval granted for repeated cycles of the same process for 5 years, unless the process significantly changes and re-approval is necessary.|
|Dissemination||Findings can be shared externally to Hallam, within the parameters of informed consent.||Old: Findings can only be used internally and should not be shared outside of Hallam.|
|New: Findings can be shared externally to Hallam (e.g. with TASO, within the parameters of informed consent.)|
More information and guidance can be found here: Category Approvals for Research Ethics Review.
For more details on the distinction between institutional research and institutional evaluation within higher education you can read Austen (2018).
The processes for research ethical approval via Converis at Hallam can be found here and this should be completed for research proposals and institutional service evaluations that are particularly sensitive and may require an additional layer of scrutiny.
Please also watch your short video which outlines this new process.
@EthicsIR is a Hallam Guild Group which also aims to increase awareness and understanding of ethical principles involved in designing and conducting institutional research/evaluation at Hallam. They have useful resources for those thinking about research and evaluation ethics, including a useful booklet from their recent Un-Conference: ETHICS IR BOOKLET (Draft Five).
During 2020, EthicsIR will be focusing their activity on awareness raising activity to promote the new process of ethical approval for institutional service evaluations.
There are also further resources via the Hallam ethics pages:
You may also find it useful to consult the British Educational Research Association ethical guidance.
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