The Voice Study Centre Research Ethics Committee 

Our Mission Statement 

  1. Our mission is to enable practitioner research and facilitate inclusivity within the research sphere. Establishing an open-access review board for the voice community will develop applied research that bridges the gap between theory and practice. We aim to produce new knowledge from research conducted with integrity and carried out by curious, ambitious, and creative researchers.
  2. Our vision is transformative as we aim to mobilise a community of innovative practitioner researchers engaged in activism and change. We facilitate advocacy, action, and reform. We nurture an outward-looking research culture underpinned by our core values of inclusion, academic freedom, respect, trust, responsibility, research relevance and academic rigour.
  3. VSC is committed to undertaking high-quality research that embodies research integrity and governance and good practice. We foster an open research environment, sharing valuable resources amongst our student populace, and broader community of practice.
  4. We aim to ensure our research strategy, vision, and centre operations preserve research integrity by always adhering to good practices.

What is a Research Ethics Committee? 

A research ethics committee is a group of people appointed to review research proposals to assess formally if the research is ethical. This means the research must conform to recognised ethical standards, which include respecting the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of the people who take part. 

The governance and operation of the Research Ethics Committee is in accordance with the UK Research Integrity Office guidance provided by the Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA). 

The Governing Body of the Research Ethics Committee

The Voice Study Centre provides the necessary governing structure for the Research Ethics Committee. The Research and Innovation committee (RIC) oversees the Research Ethics Committee (REC). It is responsible for: 

  • Ratifying the ethics committee constitution and standard operating procedures for the ethics committee 
  • Hearing appeals from the research ethics committee 
  • Monitoring all related subsidiary documentation including: 

1) The risk assessment policy and accompanying relevant documentation 

2) Data Management policy 

Why do I need ethical approval? 

Ethical approval is necessary in order to protect the dignity, rights and welfare of research participants. To publish in a peer-reviewed journal, ethical clearance prior to undertaking the project must have been granted. 

Who can apply for ethical approval? 

  • Students and staff MUST apply for ethical approval before undertaking research. You will be fully supported through this process. 
  • Independent researchers may access our services and apply for a favourable review before undertaking the study. 

Can I use the service if I am an independent researcher? 

You can access our services as an independent researcher as we are committed to facilitating practitioner research. There are some important factors that you need to consider before you embark on your quest: 

1) Do you have adequate knowledge of research methodology to enable you to submit an ethics form and undertake the research?  

If you are inexperienced but enthusiastic, you may need to undertake appropriate research methods training either in the form of an accredited course or via a MOOC or a short course. You will be asked to evidence your experience. 

2) Do you have a sponsor? 

Do you have a sponsor? If you are a student or a member of staff, The Voice Study Centre as an accredited college will act as your sponsor. It means that we will accept liability if something goes wrong. The Voice Study Centre is not able to act as a sponsor for an independent researcher, but we can support you through guidance. You can research independently without a sponsor, but professional indemnity insurance is advisable where this is the case. 

4) What types of ethical approval are there and how does this differ if I am an independent researcher? 

Where we sponsor research, we agree to monitor its execution and staff and students are consistently guided and advised with tutor and peer support. As an independent researcher, you act as your own sponsor and will not be monitored or supervised by The Voice Study Centre. To reflect this important distinction, you will receive a favourable/unfavourable review outcome rather than an approval. The purpose of the distinction is to encourage you to take full responsibility for both the research process and outcomes. We are acting in accordance with the Association of Research Managers and Administrators and the UK Research Integrity Office. 

There are two strata of favourable/unfavourable review: 

1) Light Touch Review 

2) Full Board Review 

You will need to download the appropriate documentation and decide which one to apply for. 

5) How much does a submission cost? 

1) Light Touch Review - £295 

2) Full board Review - £595 

Our review board consists of between 8 to 12 members. Between 4 – 6 members are internal VSC staff, others are field experts and there is one lay person. 

Can I download an ethics approval/favourable review form? 

Please note: The Ethics Review Board will not be available for external applicants until 2025.

We will make the approval form available nearer to the time.