Research impact and engagement: coming very soon!

We’re almost ready to release the Research Bites programme for June and July, where the focus will be on Research Impact and Engagement.

Look out for sessions about:

  • engaging with the public, schools and industry
  • impact through social media
  • writing impact case studies and statements
  • impact metrics

Research Bites sessions are usually live-streamed and recorded, so if you can’t make it in person, you can catch up online.

More details to follow very soon!

Research ethics of data use and reuse

Thanks to Debbie Knight, Di Hopkins and Becky Case for another interesting Research Bites session on the theme of Research Ethics and Ethical review process at Lancaster University.

The slides are available, courtesy of the presenters.

If it’s out there, can I use it?

The primary question raised in this session was whether data relating to human subjects which is in the public domain – whether shared via a data repository, presented as open data, or online, e.g. on social media – can be reused in research simply because it’s available.

The answer was, ‘Not necessarily’.

Ethical review is still necessary as the participants or subjects may not have given their consent to the research.

Primary data

For studies using primary data, such as social media posts, interviews or survey responses being collected for the first time, it will be necessary to provide as much supporting information as you can, such as information sheets for participants, and a sample of the questions being asked.

Applications should be made to the Faculty Ethics Committee, and will likely be reviewed by a sub- or full committee as cases can be complex.

Secondary data

It is still necessary to submit your research through ethical review when re-analysing existing data, e.g. reusing data which has already been made available. This is mainly to ensure that the researcher has applied the principles of:

  • informed consent
  • anonymity
  • security

While anonymity is a principle, it may not necessarily be a requirement, depending on your context. Also, consider whether combining and re-using two datasets may unintentionally expose participants.

[Aside: Research Bites readers might also be interested in this write up of the Sharing Qualitative Data workshop, from April 2017]

Consent

There is a need to potential reuse of the data generated in your research at an early stage. Ideally, participants will be fully informed of the potential reuse of the research data on the information sheet which is available before they are asked to consent.

You might also find this guidance on writing Data Management Plans useful.

It was acknowledged during the session that best practice in data management includes planning for re-use and sharing of research data, and this should be done with consideration of the ethical implications of doing so.

Example questions

Every question is better understood the full context of the research being proposed, so please seek advice from your Faculty Research Ethics Committee key contacts if you have questions.

It is helpful to the committee to supply any supporting information such to highlight any issues, and help them to understand how you have considered them.

Can I include Terms & Conditions of online platforms (e.g. Twitter) in an ethics application?

Does  it make a difference if the platform is open or closed?

How can I gain consent from people unable to read, in other languages, or from people of different cultures?

Can I re-use data from news or published sources? This is considered as ‘the literature’, so yes, but if in doubt, ask!

Do I need ethical approval if I’m using data from leaked documents in my research? Yes!

Lancaster Data Conversations: data security and confidentiality, Thursday 4th May 2017

Readers may also be interested in Lancaster Data Conversations this week on the topic of data security and confidentiality.

 

 

Intellectual Property and Enterprise in May

May’s theme will be Intellectual Property and Enterprise.
Join us for an informal 20 minute session. Just turn up, no need to book. Tea/coffee and cake provided.

Licensing your work with Creative Commons
Thursday 4th May, 12.00, Bowland North SR 3. Live stream
Creative Commons licences and how they communicate what others can do with your work.
Lorna Pimperton, Academic Liaison Librarian & Copyright Officer, Library

Filing and commercialising a patent based on your research
Monday 8th May, 12.00, Bowland North SR 3
Using patents to generate impact and revenue from your research.
Gavin Smith, Intellectual Property Development Manager, Research and Enterprise Services

Using copyright material in your research. 
Wednesday 10th May, 12.00, Bowland North SR 3. Live stream
What to do about third party copyright in your thesis or research output, and how to navigate the grey area of ‘fair dealing’.
Lorna Pimperton, Academic Liaison Librarian & Copyright Officer, Library

Trademarks, design rights and copyright
Thursday 11th May, 12.00, Bowland North SR 3
Expert advice on intellectual property rights, other than patents, for your invention or research output.
Gavin Smith, Intellectual Property Development Manager, Research and Enterprise Services

Starting a spin-out company from your research. 
Monday 22nd May, 12.00, Bowland North SR 3.
Expert advice on forming a university company, running a company and obtaining finance.
Gavin Smith, Intellectual Property Officer, Research and Enterprise Services

How do I engage with business, and get industry partnerships?
Wednesday 31st May, 12.00, 12.00, Bowland North SR 3. Live stream
A look at how to gain more meaningful and productive relationships with external partners and how be proactive in forming successful collaborative research partnerships.
Nick King/Colin McLaughlin, Business Partnerships Team, Faculty of Science and Technology

Research Ethics: Ethical review – an overview

Firstly, many thanks to Becky Case, Debbie Knight and Diane Hopkins for the interesting and informative Research Bites session on the Ethics approval process at Lancaster University.

Secondly, apologies to anyone who had hoped to stream in or watch a recording. Research Bites in March and April will not be recorded/streamed. The LU Ethics Team have kindly shared the slides from this session.

Lancaster University Ethics Committees

There are now three Faculty-focused Ethics Committees which deal with the majority of Ethics applications, and report to the University Research Ethics Committee (UREC). Some applications are referred to UREC, but most are dealt with at these committees.

The webpages are full of useful information about the process, including supporting documentation and contact details.

Ethics approval process

Depending on the complexity of the ethical considerations, applications can be turned around in a couple of weeks, e.g. when there has been prior approval, a month or two e.g. if the full committee needs to decide, or even go on for much longer.

Delays can happen when:

  • the researcher doesn’t supply enough information
  • the researcher doesn’t start the process early enough, or at all, or
  • the approval needs to be referred to other committees which only meet at certain times

The overwhelming message was to consider first whether ethical approval is needed at all, and second, get in touch with the Research Ethics Officers early on.

Ethical mindset

The presentation and discussion recognised that while Research Ethics approval can be – and unfortunately, sometimes is – seen as a series of hoops to jump through before cracking on with the research, it is in fact an integral part of the research design process. In developing the ethics approval application, the researcher is considering:

  • recruitment of participants
  • informed consent from participants
  • research methodology
  • potential risk to the researcher and/or participants
  • policies from the University, funder and even publishers

Questions

There were many interested questions asked during the session, though the majority of answers seemed to be that each case is different. Something that seems simple om the surface can reveal itself to be quite ‘high risk’. However, while alarm bells may ring, that is by no means a reason that the research cannot take place. Rather the researcher will need to consider how, for example, participants could be made aware of the sensitivity nature of the study, or an appropriate way to understand the research and give/refuse consent.

  • How long is approval likely to take?
  • Is there such a thing as retrospective ethics approval?
  • Can one application cope with different ethical risks/considerations, e.g. human participants and lone working? (Yes)
  • Are any groups e.g. children or disabled people considered ‘vulnerable’?
  • Should I apply for ethics before contacting prospective participants, e.g. a teaser for recruitment, or scoping out organisations to work with?

If you have similar questions, please get in touch with the Research Ethics Officers.

Research Bites update: March and April

The next Research Bites theme will be Research Ethics, and will be presented by the Lancaster University Ethics Team: Debbie Knight, Diane Hopkins and Rebecca Case.

There will be tea, coffee and something sweet to eat as usual. As always, just turn, no need to book.

Ethical review at Lancaster University – an overview.

Tuesday 21st March, 12pm, Bowland North SR03.
This overview will help researchers understand the university’s current ethics processes which were introduced last summer. It will also provide valuable advice about where to find materials and guidance for preparing ethics applications.
Lancaster University Research Ethics Team

Ethical collection of research data; if it’s out there can I use it?

Tuesday 4th April, 12pm, Bowland North SR03.
This session will consider the ethical implications of a variety of data collection methods.
Lancaster University Research Ethics Team

What’s the Difference? Ethics at Lancaster University – Common themes and FAQs.

Tuesday 25th April, 12pm, Bowland North SR03.
In this session we will look at a variety of common themes within ethics applications and frequently asked questions.
Lancaster University Research Ethics Team

Please note: these sessions will not be recorded or streamed. Apologies to anyone who was hoping to tune in. We’ll post a write up after the sessions.

Research Ethics in March and April

We’re pleased to announce a new theme on Research Ethics. The University’s Ethics Team will be presenting three brand new sessions, so please come along to learn about the ethics process, common considerations, and ask questions.

Ethical review at Lancaster University – an overview.

Tuesday 21st March, 12pm, Bowland North SR03.
This overview will help researchers understand the university’s current ethics processes which were introduced last summer. It will also provide valuable advice about where to find materials and guidance for preparing ethics applications.
Lancaster University Research Ethics Team

Ethical collection of research data; if it’s out there can I use it?

Tuesday 4th April, 12pm, Bowland North SR03.
This session will consider the ethical implications of a variety of data collection methods.
Lancaster University Research Ethics Team

What’s the Difference? Ethics at Lancaster University – Common themes and FAQs.

Tuesday 25th April, 12pm, Bowland North SR03.
In this session we will look at a variety of common themes within ethics applications and frequently asked questions.
Lancaster University Research Ethics Team

As always, just turn, no need to book.