Research can yield important findings for the understanding of language acquisition, attitudes to languages and language use, interpersonal communication and a wide range of other interesting topics, either within the realms of Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching, or in interdisciplinary research projects in the area of Educational Informatics. Nevertheless, to be meaningful and make a positive impact on the development of science and society, research should abide by research ethics guidelines. First and foremost, researchers, participants and potential stakeholders, such as funding bodies, should ensure that their research respects human rights and personal freedoms. Secondly, ethics guidelines enable mutual respect, effective communication, and trustworthiness between researchers and participants. Finally, research findings are meaningless and questionable if research ethics guidelines are not followed, demonstrating that good research, is also ethical research.
The English Studies Department expects that all research undertaken by staff or students abides by the University’s Ethics Policy.
As a world-class research institution, the University of Sheffield aspires to produce the highest quality research. At the heart of this is the key principle that governs all research involving human participants, personal data and human tissue: respect for the participants' welfare and rights. Researchers have the obligation to ensure that their research is conducted ethically and with the minimum possible risk to all those involved or affected by it.
The Policy comprises three sections, each of which has the authority of the University of Sheffield policy:
The Research Ethics Approval Procedure (which has the status of the University of Sheffield policy) identifies the practicalities of research ethics review at the University of Sheffield and should be read by all University staff and registered students who are conducting, or planning to conduct research involving human participants, personal data, and human tissue, as well as any others conducting research on University premises.
Important note: The University's approach to research ethics requires that all research involving human participants, personal data, or human tissue should be reviewed, and research ethics approval must be obtained, before data gathering commences.
More details about the Ethics Review Procedure will can be found at:
The Department's Research Ethics Committee oversees the ethics procedures across all degree programmes for students and staff members. The Ethics Coordinator (Dr Zoi Tatsioka: firstname.lastname@example.org) is available to offer advice to staff and students.
You can obtain ethics approval for your research by visiting the Online Ethics Review System and completing the necessary sections of the Application Form. You can access the Online Ethics Review System at:
Supporting documents are available to assist you in submitting the application and successfully completing the submission process. You can access these documents by clinking on the respective links below:
The University Research Ethics Committee (UREC) oversees the Department's ethics review procedures. In very exceptional cases where agreement cannot be reached within the department, this committee can review applications. Members of the Department wishing to appeal a decision of the Department’s Ethics Review Committee should inform UREC.
Amendments to the original research design are common in any research project. You are only required to submit a new Ethics Application Form if the amendments raise new ethical issues in your research. Undergraduate and postgraduate students should consult their supervisor to decide if a new Ethics Application is necessary.