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Ethical review of ethically sensitive student projects

All students at the Faculty of Health and Society who conduct a study involving ethically sensitive content must apply for a review to the faculty’s Ethics Council.

In the application students are to provide information on their project: what it is about and how it is to be carried out, that the participants have given their consent and how confidentiality requirements are to be met.

The University is responsible for undergraduate and master student projects being carried out under ethically guaranteed and safe forms. The Ethics Council therefore has the task of recommending or dissuading students from carrying out a study in a certain way. The Ethics Council’s statements are advisory only. 

You can read more about the ethics trial and Ethics Council activities here: In-depth information

What student projects can be considered to have ethically sensitive content and therefore require review by the Ethics Council?

 

A student project that:

• entails a physical procedure on a human subject

• is carried out using a method that aims to affect a human subject physically or mentally, or that entails an evident risk of harming the human subject physically or mentally

• relates to studies of biological material that has been taken from a living human subject and can be traced to this human subject

• entails a physical procedure on a deceased human subject, or relates to studies of biological material that has been taken for medical purposes from a deceased human subject and can be traced to this human subject. See: the Act concerning Ethical Review of Research Involving Humans (SFS 2003:460) Section 4 

• contains personal information that shows ethnic origin, political opinions, religion or philosophical convictions, trade union membership and information concerning health or sexual activity. Personal data on offences that involve crime, judgements in criminal cases, coercive measures or administrative deprivation of liberty. The Personal Data Act (1998:204) Section 13.

How to apply

1. Application form

The application is to include several parts – an application form and appendices. Download and fill in the application form. The form contains instructions regarding the information and data to be provided. 

2. Appendices

Appendix 1

Please download and use our template: Information letter. The information letter is addressed to people who will possibly take part in the study. Therefore remember to adapt the letter to the recipient. Avoid complicated information, express yourself concisely and objectively in easy-to-understand language. 

The information letter is to contain the following: 

Heading: Write the title of your study.  

Presentation: Write a short presentation about those involved in conducting the study: Name, Studying the XXX programme at Malmö University, XXX level of the academic paper. A supervisor’s name and contact information can be included if the supervisor so wishes. It is important that the supervisor has given their permission for this. 

Purpose: Describe the purpose of the study and give reasons why it is important for it to be carried out. Avoid formulations that are a direct request to take part. Those reading the information letter should not feel compelled to take part, or have a bad conscience if they decline to do so. 

Implementation: Describe how the study will be carried out: interviews or questionnaires, how many will take part, how the respondents/participants have been selected, the timescale for respondents and if there are risks involved in taking part.  

The voluntary requirement: Use an appropriate formulation such as: Your participation in the study is completely voluntary. You can stop participating at any time and no explanation is necessary.

The confidentiality requirement: Use an appropriate formulation such as: We strive to guarantee confidentiality in the study in that no unauthorised person may have access to the material. The material is stored so that it is only accessible for the individual or individuals leading the study. In the reporting of results in the form of a degree project paper at Malmö University/or in another form of publication, the respondents will be unidentifiable and it will not be possible to link the results to individuals. 

Right of use: State where the work will be published/made public.

Conclude with: You are hereby asked to take part in this study.  

Appendix 2

Consent from participants. Participants must have received written information on the study (information letter) before they sign a consent appendix. Only the consent form is to be sent to the Ethics Council, not the signed consent form, which is to be anonymous. 

Appendix 3

Consent from the supervisor.

Appendix 4

Signed permission from the head of the facility/equivalent. If, for example, you collect your empirical material at a school or medical clinic you are to ensure that you obtain permission from the headmaster or the head of the facility before your study begins. Similarly, you must ensure that you have company management’s consent if you collect your material at a private company. If you use confidential material such as patient journals or investigations by social services it is a precondition for your study that you have been granted permission by the public authority to have access to the material, for example with provisos. You and your supervisor are responsible for finding out what permissions your study requires, regardless of whether the study is to be carried out in Sweden or abroad. 

Are you going to handle personal data? Read the Swedish Data Protection Authority’s general advice on how to handle personal data correctly.

3. Submit your application and appendices in one of the following ways:

• email to etikradet@mah.se 

• post to Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society, 205 06 Malmö 

• deliver to Ewa Sortberg Bassmann’s post box F120, Health and Society, Jan Waldenströms gata 25. 

The Ethics Council meets on the Friday of the same week as the submission is made. A statement is sent via email to the student and supervisor as soon as possible after the meeting. There is no appeal process against the Ethics Council’s statement, as they are advisory only.

Last updated by Ewa Sortberg Bassmann