In January the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) released an updated research ethics framework.
“As the principal funding agency for UK social science research, we require that the research we support is:
- designed and conducted in accordance with recognised best practice and ethical standards
- subject to proper professional and institutional oversight in terms of research governance
The Framework for Research Ethics was introduced in 2006. Since then we have only funded research where consideration has been given to ethical implications and in those research organisations where appropriate arrangements are in place. The Framework therefore has implications for applicants to ESRC and their research teams, research organisations and research ethics committees, for those assessing research proposals and for research participants.
Latest Edition – January 2015
The revised framework includes necessary revisions but also encourages researchers to think ethically and emphasises the importance of identifying potential ethical issues throughout the research lifecycle of a project and expresses our expectation that researchers should ensure the maximum benefit of their research whilst minimising actual or potential risk of harm to participants or others affected by the research. Our guidance also includes cases studies of ethical issues, see link below, that are intended to be useful examples of ethical challenges faced in social science research and we welcome further case studies to be submitted for our consideration.
For the next phase of the review, we intend to make the information in the Framework more accessible by introducing an ethics toolkit that is expected to be added to our website in late 2015 and is intended to make the Framework information accessible in a more usable format.”
In addition to including a PDF copy of the framework and a summary of the key changes the page provides a number of useful case studies.