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Event 1: Three-Day Course on Research Ethics as Process

Under this heading training will be offered to:

  • those wishing to participate as members of ethical review committees (RECs);
  • those who will be looking to submit their research to RECs.

Two three-day courses will be offered in total.

The first course will be offered in December 2006 and will be offered at an induction level to be of value to new members of RECs and early career researchers who are developing skills associated with obtaining ethical approval. The second course will be offered in June 2008 and will look at the issues in greater depth and concentrate on aspects that might cause tension between researchers and approvals committees, e.g. techniques to minimise participant attrition and novel methods of recruitment.

Each day will centre on a specific theme and participants (30 maximum) may attend any of the days separately. Two full sessions will be offered each day (morning and afternoon) followed by informal discussions in the evening for those who choose a residential option. The course will be convened by a single member of the training team from Lancaster University. Team members and members of the Faculty will teach the majority of the sessions but an external guest speaker from an approvals body will be invited to conduct a session on day 2 of the first (induction) course, and a speaker with specialist knowledge of regulatory issues will present on day 3 on the second (advanced) course.

The programme outline will be structured as follows:

Day 1 - Introducing ethics and research

Focusing on different research methods (quantitative and qualitative) this session will consider the complex relationship between ethical and philosophical theories and research involving human participants. Why for example is it important to protect the rights of research participants? Is it adequate to simply inform a potential participant of possible risks and benefits and allow them to decide for themselves thus enhancing their autonomy, or should a REC seek to protect research participants by minimising all possible risks?

Day 2 - Modes of Operation

The day investigates how RECs operate by exploring decision-making processes and the ways in which members of a committee interact with one another? One session will be geared towards guiding potential applicants through the formalities associated with the applications process.

Day 3 - Legal and Regulatory issues

The sessions will examine a range of issues associated with the potential legal liability of researchers in relation to the conduct of research and of REC members performing ethical review. Particular emphasis will be placed upon negligence, data protection issues and indemnity.

Each day will be applicable to both researchers and members of RECs, enabling the perspectives of each group to be presented to the other through a combination of interactive lectures, group work and role play. In this way it is anticipated that REC members will enhance their understanding of the needs of researchers, particularly in relation to different methodologies, and researchers making applications for REC approval will develop clear knowledge about the role and operation of an REC and what a REC looks for in an application.

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Institute for Advanced Studies
County South
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD