Ethical Issues and Approval Process

ESSEC Business School is committed to promoting a quality research culture by ensuring high standards of research involving human subjects. In pratice, this means that no research can take place until all of the required approvals have been given. Any ESSEC student or Faculty who wishes to undertake research involving human participants must obtain an ethical approval.

Procedure for Ethical Review

1st step : Fill in Research Ethics Initial Checklist

Completion of the Research Ethics Initial Checklist is required for all research that involves human participants or personal data. The questionnaire assesses whether the proposed research involves more than minimal risk and whether the research involves manipulation, defined as the intentional induction by the researcher of mental, physiological, or behavioural changes on the part of participants. Responses to this questionnaire will determine immediately if the researcher will need to submit a full application for ethics approval to the ESSEC Research Ethics Committee.

Case 1: You have answered NO to all the questions below in the research Ethics Initial Checklist

  • Does the study involve participants who are particularly vulnerable or unable to give informed consent? (e.g., children, people with learning difficulties, patients)
  • Will it be necessary for participants to take part in the study without their knowledge and consent at the time? (eg covert observation of people in non- public places)
  • Will the study involve discussion of sensitive topics? (eg sexual activity, drug use, politics)
  • Are drugs, placebos or other substances (eg food substances, vitamins) to be administered to the study participants, or will the study involve invasive, intrusive or potentially harmfulprocedures of any kind?
  • Will tissue samples (including blood) be obtained from participants?
  • Is pain or more than mild discomfort likely to result from the study?
  • Could the study induce psychological stress, discomfort, anxiety or cause harm or negative consequences beyond the risks encountered in normal life?
  • Is there a possibility that the safety of the researcher may be in question? (eg in international research: locally employed research assistants)
  • Will the research involve respondents to the internet or other visual/vocal methods where respondents may be identified?
  • Will financial inducement (other than reasonable expenses and compensation for time) be offered to participants?
  • Will the study involve actively deceiving the participants? (e.g., will participants be deliberately falsely informed, will information be withheld from them or will they be misled in such a way that they are likely to object or show unease when debriefed about the study)

Case 2: Ethical approval has been granted by another institution's Ethics Committee

If your research falls under case 1 or case 2, the completion of the Research Ethics Initial Checklist is sufficient. Your study is automatically approved and can start immediately.

Researchers should administer a Consent Form and eventually a debriefing form to each participant in the study.

In all others cases, you will need to submit a full application for ethics approval to the ESSEC Research Ethics Committee.

2nd Step : Submit a full application for ethics approval to the ESSEC Research Ethics Committee

If your research involves more than minimum risk, you have to submit online a full application for ethics approval to the ESSEC Research Ethics Committee. Researchers should also administer a Consent Form and a Debriefing Form to each participant in the study.

2 reviewers will review your application in a 2 weeks period. If both reviewers approve the application, you are notified and you can proceed with your study.

If not, the ethics committee will review the project in a 6-weeks-period. Applications will be sent to all ESSEC Ethics Committee members prior to the meeting and comments will be collected, discussed and recorded at the meeting.

Applicants will be notified of the Ethics Committee’s decision as soon as possible after the meeting in writing. The Ethics Committee’s decision will be one of the following and details of any amendments required will be included:

  • Approved – no amendment.
  • Conditionally Approved – minor amendments required.
  • Resubmit – needs to be resubmitted with substantial amendments.
  • Rejected – ethically unsound.

As a guide to fill in the form, please follow:

a/ Ethical principles of American Psychological Association

b/ Ethical principles for medical research involving Human subjects

The Research Ethics Commitee comprises:

- The Dean for Research

- 4 faculty members