The role of the Faculty Research Ethics Committee (FREC) is to ensure that the University of Malta’s Research Code of Practice is adhered to. FREC manages the process of reviewing applications submitted for ethical clearance; this is done in accordance with the University of Malta’s Research Ethics Review Procedures . FREC works to comply with international standards of research, especially those established by recognised associations in Education, and cognate disciplines, such as BERA, BSA, APA and others. It is also committed to ensure that research is compliant with the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that came into force as of May 2018. Apart from ensuring that participants in research are protected by ethical research, FREC also assists researchers (staff and students) by giving advice on how to reach the expected standards and how to modify proposals and documents where necessary.
FREC receives Ethics applications as an ongoing process; hence, applicants may submit their Ethics Application at any time of the year. Applications are processed in the order that they are received.
The Online form may be found on the UREC site. The form includes a 'Self-Assessment' section. If no potential issues are indicated in this section, the applicant will be referred to the Submission stage. In this case, the applicant will submit the application and supporting documents (e.g. information letters, consent forms, interview questions, etc.) will be sent to FREC for filing, and the applicant may commence data collection. On the other hand, if any issues are flagged in the Self-Assessment section, then the applicant will be directed to another part of the Form where a more detailed evaluation is required. In this case, the applicant may not start data collection until the ethics application is approved by FREC.
Since the application is a 'Google Form', drafts cannot be saved. However, the Replica of the Form, which is a Word Document, may be used for works-in-progress. Once all details are finalised in the Replica Form, these may be copied into the Online Form and the Form submitted online. The applicant will then receive a PDF version of the Form through e-mail (after approximately 30 seconds). This PDF version of the application will have a unique ID (e.g. 325:18/12/2018-MariaAgius).
The PDF version of the form should now be emailed to FREC, together with supporting documents (e.g. approved dissertation proposal, information letters, consent forms, interview questions, etc.). The application form and documents should be filed in a Zipped folder. For ease of reference, FREC requests that the documents are filed in the order indicated in the Guidelines (see below). The email should be titled using the unique ID and either 'For FREC Records', if no issues have been flagged in the Self-Assessment section, or 'For FREC Review' if further details have been requested. Send the Zipped folder to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This address should only be used for the submission of the ethics application together with supporting documents. Any other correspondence should be sent to the secretary of FREC (Education) Ms Isabelle Warrington.
In the case of students, the supervisor must be copied in the e-mail; the supervisor will then "Reply All", confirming that s/he has read and approved the documents that the student is submitting. FREC can only process a student’s application (file or review) if it has been endorsed by the supervisor through this email. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the application is endorsed by his/her supervisor. FREC will issue an acknowledgement copied to both student and supervisor once the endorsement is received.
In the case of applications that will require FREC approval (that is, applications that are submitted as 'For FREC review'), a hard copy of the application and supporting documents should also be handed in person to Ms Isabelle Warrington, whose office (Room 311) is located opposite the main door of the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Science (MAKS). Students are required to sign a hard copy declaration , which should be handed in together with the hard copy.
For further details on how to complete and submit the online form refer to the Guidelines . The Guidelines also include notes about how to write Information Letters and Consent Forms, together with examples of such documents. Applicants are expected to follow the Guidelines. It is also highly recommended that applicants also read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) compiled by the University Research Ethics Committee.