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LISC ethics approval process

Within the Faculty of Humanities, responsibility for ensuring the conduct of ethical research resides within individual departments (as per the Faculty of Humanities Guide to Research Ethics PDF, 1 280KB, 69 pp.)

All members of the LISC academic staff participate in our Ethics Review Committee activities.

An Ethics Review Committee is convened when a student requires ethics clearance on account of a proposed research project involving human subjects. This committee consists of at least three members of staff, and includes the primary supervisor of the research.

The Ethics Review Committee for a particular research project meets for the first time when the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is signed between the supervisor(s) and the student. At this stage the Committee discussion focuses on the ethical implications of the study that are evident in the student's Research Proposal.

The Committee will meet again later on request to view the student's research instruments in order to vet their quality and ethical integrity, before data collection can proceed. At this stage the Ethics Committee requires the student to have completed a standard Application for Ethics Clearance form (available from the supervisor or LISC Administrator on request), and the Committee will consider this application together with the proposed research instruments.

The committee then decides whether all ethical requirements have been met, and if this is the case, the Chair will draft a brief report stating that approval has been obtained. This report is signed by all committee members.

If the instruments do not meet with committee approval, they are referred back to the supervisor with suggestions for improvement.

The completed Application for Ethics Clearance form (which will be numbered sequentially by year and in order of receipt by the Department) as well as the Committee Approval Report are kept on file by the LISC Administrative Officer, and copies of the Committee Approval Report are sent to the student and to the supervisor for their records.

Once the process as set out above has been completed the Committee Chair informs the Head of Department.

In specific instances, such as when data will be collected from the UCT community, the student is responsible for sending the request together with the Approval Report to the Faculty of Humanities for further clearance and approval.

For further information on Research Ethics in the Faculty of Humanities, please consult the following: