The research governance framework

In the UK, the Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care has been implemented to:

  • maintain ethical standards of practice in research
  • protect subjects of research and research workers from harm or exploitation
  • preserve the subjects‟ rights
  • reassure the public that this is being done.

Therefore, if what you want to do is based in the UK, involves NHS patients, carers of patients or NHS staff and will generate new and generalisable results, you must find out if you need ethical and research and development approval. Until you know whether or not you need Ethical and Research and Development approval you must not carry out fieldwork.

There is a new national system by which approval is obtained, but it is still cumbersome and can be very time consuming.

Many journals now require evidence of such approval before they will publish work.

Be warned, in our experience obtaining ethical and research and development approval, and responding to advice, almost inevitably creates delays and so anxiety for students on tight timescales.