Preparing an Application for Ethics Approval

1. Download the form.

2. Complete the form referring to the notes in the application form, the advice included at the end of this page, and in consultation with your Advisor.

3. Submit the form. The Candidate and Advisor's Declarations are at the end of the application form.


Your application must be submitted as ONE Word document, attached to an email. You should include the Candidate's Declaration in the body of your email and forward to your Principal Advisor.

Your Principal Advisor will email the application, including the Advisor's Declaration in the email body to the School Administrative Officer - Research Higher Degree Studies.


4. The form is processed and forwarded to a member of the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry Ethics Committee.

  • Expect a FOUR WEEK turn-around time for your application. This will allow sufficient time to process the application, review the application, make any alterations or corrections and re-submit for final approval. The committee endeavours to deal with applications as quickly as possible but cannot guarantee a final approval within four weeks of submission of the original application.

5. The committee member completes the report and forwards this back to the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry.

6. The report is processed and then sent to the Candidate and the Principal Advisor. Usually the report will have one of the following recommendations:

  • Approved without changes

  • Approved with minor changes to be approved by the Principal Advisor before the project can begin

  • Changes must be made and the form or parts of the form must be resubmitted to be re-assessed before clearance can be approved

7. Regardless of the recommendation, Candidates MUST consult with their Advisors before proceeding. If a resubmission is required, it must be submitted using the same process as the original application.

8. If there are significant changes to the data collection process then an application to amend the approval to conduct research must be submitted. Those changes that require an amendment relate to the ethical conduct of the study. For example, if the participant cohort changes, or if the data collection methods change, then the ethical considerations will also change.

Completing the Ethics Approval Application Form

1. Read all parts of the application form including how the application is processed.

2. Especially pay attention to the notes for each question. These notes have been developed so Candidates know exactly what to include for each question.

3. Keep it brief, exact and to the point of the question.

4. If you find yourself repeating information in the form, this may indicate you have not answered the questions appropriately.

5. Proof read the application. If the application is written in a way that impedes understanding it will be returned to the Candidate for re-writing and re-submission.

6. Please do not include lengthy and complex explanations of the research study being conducted. Literature reviews especially are not helpful when considering the ethics of a proposed study. The summary of the project and the research plan should be clearly explained so that the committee can judge whether all ethical issues have been considered.

7. Always make sure that the information you provide is consistent. For example, if you have three different types of data collection then each type needs to be considered when writing about confidentiality and storage of data.

8. Avoid cutting and pasting from your confirmation document. The purpose of each document is different, therefore they require a different writing style. Applications for ethical clearance should be written so 'outsiders' (people not familiar with your research topic) can understand your intentions.

9. Checklists for the completion of information letters, consent forms, and for the complete application have been prepared and included with the form. Please use these checklists to ensure all necessary information has been included. 

Points Related to Specific Questions

Question 3: is about recruiting participants and Question 7 is about obtaining informed consent from those participants. These are different questions, each requiring a different answer.

Question 5: complete the table only - do not add extra information. The table refers to Data Collection. Please only include information relevant to the Data Collection aspect of your study.

Question 6: do not include information that is already included in other parts of the application. The purpose of Question 6 is for you to show you understand there may be ethical considerations apart from those already included in the application.

Question 11: video data is always possibly identifiable.

Question 15: Focus group data is always difficult to deal with if one member withdraws. If you are conducting focus groups you cannot guarantee complete anonymity and confidentiality because the members of the group will know each other and will hear others' responses to questions. You need to show in your application that you are aware of these issues.

Information Sheets

  • A good information sheet is as close to one page as possible.

  • It briefly explains the project and what you want the participants to do.

  • If you have different cohorts of participants (eg. parents, students and teachers), then the language used in each information sheet should be appropriate for that cohort. This can include using simple and clear language for students, and avoiding jargon and technical terms for parents.

  • Try not to be descriptive in your information sheets - you need to be concise and clear.

  • Use dot points and/or tables so parents and students are clearly informed about what they are agreeing to do, when they will do it, and how long it will take.