How to Keep your Doctorate on Track
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How to Keep your Doctorate on Track

Insights from Students’ and Supervisors’ Experiences

Edited by Keith Townsend, Mark N.K. Saunders, Rebecca Loudoun and Emily A. Morrison

The path of a doctoral student can feel challenging and isolating. This guide provides doctoral students with key ideas and support to kick-start a doctoral journey, inspire progress and complete their thesis or dissertation. Featuring observations from experienced supervisors, as well as the reflections of current and recent postgraduate researchers, this intimate and entertaining book offers vital insights into the critical moments in any doctoral experience.
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Chapter 25: Gaining ethical approval

Nora Pillard Reynolds

Abstract

The words “gaining ethical approval” bring to mind the ethics committee or International Review Board. All doctoral candidates are aware that the ethical approval process is there for a reason. However, too often graduate student chatter focuses on describing ethical approval as an adversarial process, with students dreading this part of their doctoral journey. The chapter asks, what if the process of pursuing ethical research starts long before the ethical approval application is submitted? What if ethical approval considerations were applied to all phases of the process, instead of the one point of gaining approval? It argues that, if this approach were applied, the ethical approval check point would come to provide a welcome opportunity to leverage the support and guidance available to ensure ethical practices in students’ work – and to keep the dissertation moving! The author’s own experiences are recalled throughout the chapter, which concludes with five key lessons.

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