Ethical Issues and Gaining Ethical Approval

Thank you for your interest in this event. There is planned website maintenance this week so unfortunately we cannot take registrations online. Please call the BERA office on 0207 331 5217 to register over the phone for this event.

Calling all researchers who work in Further Education and schools, educational publishing and assessment (including educational technology), or outside of HEIs as self-employed independent researchers (IRs)! This is a key event for you. It is an opportunity to help resolve an anomaly: the world of research lacks a system for IRs to gain ethical approval for research. This dilemma potentially affects the quality and range of research.

BERA is best known for its ethical guidelines and commitment to advancing research quality. Within HEIs, ethics panels regulate the quality of research and ethics. More generally, the increasing trend is for research proposals to be subject to robust scrutiny, ensuring best ethical practice.  Within BERA, and beyond, independent researchers increasingly find it difficult to access ethical approval for research proposals. IRF convenors are approached by IRs who express the problems they face and ask how BERA can help. Discussions at conference with BERA members and elsewhere have highlighted both the issue and the need for this event.

Linked to BERA’s strategic objectives this round-table event will involve BERA’s Executive Director, interested BERA members and others to present and explore the  issues. An IR will speak of her experiences of the challenges. Another speaker will consider possible options and we will all work towards solutions! 

To round off the event, an opportunity to share current research will inform planning a BERA blog about IR’s research.


10.30 Registration and refreshments
10.45 Introduction and news announcements
11.00 Keynote speaker: Jocelyn Bailey sets out the unique problems faced by IRs seeking ethical approval;
Keynote speaker: Dr Alison Clark-Wilson suggests options and possible solutions
12.00 General discussion to discover the range of perspectives on this issue and to outline options for resolving dilemmas
12.45 Discussion of Case Studies on IRs and ethics (in small groups) discuss: a) case studies b) possible solutions
13.15 Lunch
14.00 Taking it forward: Round Table discussion with panel, including keynote speakers, Nick Johnson (BERA), and other interested ethics specialists (to be announced). Agree actions.
14.30 Refreshments break
14.45 Opportunities for IRs to present on current work and projects – next steps include possible BERA blog on IRs’ work – link to initial News item at beginning of event
15.25 Completion of evaluation forms
15.30 Close of event


The BERA Early Career Researcher Network offers a limited amount of bursaries to the value of £75 towards travel for BERA Student Members only.

To apply for one of these bursaries, please email with a 250 word statement on why you want to attend this event and why you need the financial assistance. Bursaries are offered on a first come, first served basis. Travel expenses will be reimbursed after the event in accordance with our travel policies. You must not have previously received bursary funding from BERA.

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