Research Ethics

Researchers at Maynooth University have a duty to adhere to the highest ethical standards when conducting research. Such research may be of a biomedical, animal or a social scientific nature, it can involve quantitative methods or qualitative approaches such as participant-observation or surveying or interviewing participants. In all cases, it is important that the research is designed to give full consideration to the ethical implications of any proposed project. The task of the University Ethics Committee is to review proposed research projects before they commence, to assess the ethical implications, and to provide guidance, support and approval to researchers on ethical issues. 

In line with international best practice, the Maynooth University Ethics Committee is divided into two sub-committees, tailored to the very different needs of different types of research.

  • The Biomedical & Life Sciences Research Ethics Subcommittee (BSRESC) has expertise covering all aspects of biomedical/animal/life sciences research.
  • The Social Research Ethics Subcommittee (SRESC) covers all aspects of social scientific research.

Maynooth University operates a 3 tier process of ethical review depending on the nature and sensitivity of the research. The tier 1 process allows rapid review of routine or non-contentious applications.  The tier-2 process is designed for expedited review of proposals that may have been approved elsewhere (as in collaborative studies) or have few contentious or non-standard aspects.  The tier 3 process is the standard review for proposals that require greater scrutiny.

Each subcommittee has a list of specific criteria for each tier to enable you to determine which level of review your project requires. The criteria for the approval processes are given below but it is expected that in each case the final decision of what level of review a project should undergo rests with the sub-committees whose expertise will inform the judgement of subjective aspects such as the understanding of routine procedures, the nature of vulnerability etc.

All Maynooth University staff, as well as PhD and M.Litt. students, are required to undergo the ethical review process before they can begin data collection on their proposed research project. Generally, undergraduates and taught Masters students do not come under the remit of the ethics committee, but their research projects should undergo an ethical review process within the student's department and in consultation with the student's supervisor.

For Further Information on:

Biomedical & Life Sciences Research Ethics Subcommittee (BSRESC)
The Social Research Ethics Subcommittee
Ethical Review Process, Deadline for Submission and Meeting Dates
Application and Consent Forms
Ethics General Policy Documents

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