Ethics

The Geography Ethics Committee

The Geography Ethics Committee maintains procedures for the consideration of ethical issues arising from teaching, research and other activities in the Geography Department at Exeter. The Geography Ethics Committee sits within the University of Exeter’s Research Ethics and Governance procedures and helps ensure research in the department is carried out in accordance with the University Ethics Framework.

The University Ethics Framework recognises and requires research to accord with the commonly accepted ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, confidentiality and integrity, other than in exceptional circumstances requiring prior approval from the relevant Research Ethics Committee.

The current members of the Geography Ethics Committee are:

  • Clive Barnett (Human Geography)
  • Jon Cinnamon (Human Geography and Health-related Research)
  • Gail Davies (Human Geography and Chair of the Committee)
  • Louisa Evans (Human Geography and International Research)
  • Rich Gorman (Postdoctoral Fellow Representative)
  • Matt Finn (Undergraduate Research Design convenor and Human Geography Research)
  • Pepe Romanillos (Director of Postgraduate Research and Human Geography)
  • Susan Warren (Postgraduate Representative)
  • Tbc (Physical Geography Research)

Research Ethics Applications

The same ethics application process is used for all undergraduate, masters and PhD projects, and for postdoctoral and staff research in both human and physical Geography. In each case, it is the responsibility of the person carrying out the research to ensure appropriate processes for ethical approval are completed before starting empirical data collection. Ethical approval cannot be given once a study has started.

Undergraduate, Master and PhD students should consult their research advisor for advice on starting ethical approval processes. Members of staff are encouraged to discuss ethics approval processes with their research group lead or members of the Geography Ethics Committee. 

You can access the e-Ethics application system via: https://eethics.exeter.ac.uk/. To access the e-Ethics application system you must be connected to the University Network. You can connect to the University Network either on campus or by using a virtual private network (VPN) when off campus. If you have any queries about setting up a VPN or problems with accessing the e-Ethics system please contact the SID team for further assistance.

Please consult the Geography Research Ethics (Exeter) ELE pages before starting a new e-Ethics application.

Track A and Track B Applications

Most research in Geography will be approved via the ‘Track A’ route using the e-Ethics system. This creates an online record of the proposed research and agreed good practice for methods. It is completed by the researcher, reviewed and signed by the research supervisor (or research group lead), and signed off by the chair of the Geography Ethics Committee.

Research involving animals, children, vulnerable groups, ethically sensitive topics or some research practices (such as covert research) requires approval via the ‘Track B’ route.  ‘Track B’ submissions are completed by the researcher, reviewed and signed by the research supervisor or research group lead on the same e-Ethics systems. They are additionally discussed at a face-to-face meeting of the Geography Ethics Committee.

If your research is likely to require ‘Track B’ approval you should read the relevant sections and guidance notes on the Geography Research Ethics (Exeter) ELE pages carefully. Please contact the Geography Ethics Committee at an early stage for advice and to book a slot at a committee meeting. The committee generally meets in February, June, September and December.

The Geography Ethics Committee is unable to approve research involving adults without the capacity to consent, work with offenders, the armed services, research in clinical settings or with a clinical trials design, and research involving harms to animals. These require review by nationally recognised and independent research ethics committees. If your proposed research involves these groups, please consult the chair of the Geography Ethics Committee, or contact Gail Seymour of the University Ethics Committee for further advice.