Ethics: the final touches


So the verdict arrived- exactly 10 working days after my NHS Research Ethics Committee (REC) meeting. All these mysterious stages one has to progress through are rather fascinating. This is the provisional opinion letter stage.

The letter provides a transcription of the conversation that occurred during the meeting. Slightly strange  seeing myself being quoted as Ms Volkmer stated…Having said that I can’t recall any or much of what I said and looking at what they have written I sound ok. Like perhaps I actually can convince others that I might know what I am doing!!!? At least as according to their transcription that particular Ms Volkmer sounded like a professional researcher- was that really me!?

I think what really made the difference were some tips I was given for the REC meeting. Here they are (plus a few extras from me):
– Take a note pad and pen to show your keen to get their feedback and ideas
– Be open to their questions and ideas: do not under any circumstance act defensive
– Take on board what they say- smile and thank them for their interest.
– They are there for the safety of the patients – think about it clinically. What would keep people safe in your study? What if a patient suddenly declares they are depressed or distressed during your outcome measures?
– They are also considering your safety and that of any collaborators/junior researchers in your study- think about lone working procedures etc
– They know as much if not more than you but not necessarily on your topic- be ready to explain things- but respectfully.
– They may spot things you and your supervisor miss! So handy  and perhaps a bit reassuring to have another group of eyes on your work!

The chair stated that my project was interesting! (Yes! Fist pump!). Anyhow they have made their provisional opinion clear now phew. Just a couple of details to change. I must amend a sentence and make one other change. Fingers crossed. I’ll let you know when I have actually crossed the ethics finish line and am holding that final letter or whatever they send/give in my grubby little PhD researcher paws!!!!

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