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The sponsor logo should be in the header and the study title, version number and date should be in the footer of the document. Please use the templates available.
You must exercise appropriate version control over your documents. The final version of the documents that you submit to the SGREC should be version 1 and must be dated.
If you do not include these details on your documents, the Research Ethics and Integrity Officer will return them to you and ask you to complete them.
If you are given provisional favourable ethics opinion by SGREC or otherwise asked to make changes to your documents, you must ensure that you update the version numbers and dates of those documents accordingly. After a change, this would become version 2.0, version 3.0 etc.
For studies taking place on the internet (eg an electronic survey) the Participant Information Sheet could be combined with the consent form (Survey template).
The information provided prior to the consent statement should include details:
Introduction of you
What is the research about?
What will happen to me if I take part?
Why have I been asked to participate?
What data will be collected?
What are the possible benefits of taking part?
Are there any risks involved?
What will happen to the data which will be collected?
Do I have to take part?
Can I change my mind?
Where can I get more information?
Most online survey software have an option to allow participants to continue with the survey only if they tick a box to indicate their consent. This tick box should be every page of the survey.
You can access Microsoft Forms via the SGUL O365 Portal by going to and clicking on the Forms icon.
Help and tips on how to create a survey using Microsoft Forms. For further help please email.
Please make sure you refer to any other relevant guidance before setting up your survey, for example in terms of either data protection or research ethics requirements. Please use the Data protection and managment guidance.
Survey Monkey is a very popular online tool but we do not recommend its use due to data protection concerns. For staff with a subscription to Survey Monkey it can be used during the academic year 2020/1 as we transition to Jisc Online Surveys as the preferred tool for 2021/2.
Where Microsoft Forms does not provide the necessary functionality for your needs, it may be possible to use JISC Online Surveys instead. For further information and to request access to Online Surveys please email the Learning & Development Manager
You should state clearly on the Participant Information Sheet (PIS) and Consent form if you intend to use an audio or video recorder on the interview. You should make it clear whether the recordings are optional or required for participation. Audio / visual recordings should be held on a password-protected recording device or in an encrypted University file until the transcription has been completed. After transcription, the recording should be destroyed, and the transcript stored in a password-protected University file. After the anonymisation of the transcripts, the participant will not able to withdraw their data. You need to indicate in the PIS the time limit for withdrawal of data (Please use the PIS template (Word). The transcript should be made available to the participant at their request.
Recommended tools for interview are MS Team and Skype for Business.
MS Teams as the best option for remote interviews moving forward. It keeps the organisational advice about systems consistent. This link will take you to the SGUL website that has Training guides on MS Teams.
There is advice for students about the use of Teams in the Learning Technology Quick Guide for Students on Canvas
Webcams can be turned off to prevent recording of video. You must make it clear to the interviewee what the process is, before the recording part starts.
Students have access to Skype for Business. There is recording functionality built into Skype for Business.
To access and download Skype students will need to:
Go to the Office 365 portal
Click on their picture or initials, top left
Select ‘My Account’ from the dropdown
On the left select Apps & devices
Skype will be included as a separate app that can be installed.
To record and playback Skype for Business meetings they will need to use these instructions
St George’s has implemented Microsoft Office 365 Message Encryption (OME), which allows St George's, University of London staff and students to send encrypted email messages both to colleagues within the University and to recipients outside the organisation. Microsoft OME is available in both the Outlook Web-based Application (OWA) and the Outlook Desktop Client.
Microsoft OME can be used to protect personal data when sending it via email, and includes options to restrict what the recipient can do with that email, e. g. prevent them from forwarding it to anyone else. It will also protect email attachments where the files have been created using Microsoft Office applications, e. g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint.
Files containing sensitive personal data (also known as special category data) should always have additional protection applied before they are sent as attachments to email. 7-Zip can be used to encrypt and password protect documents containing sensitive personal data or files in non-Microsoft Office formats, such as PDFs or image files. Passwords to open protected files should never be shared in the same email used to send the file.
Training for using Microsoft OME, including definitions of the different levels of encryption, can be booked from the Library's training pages.
For further help with using encryption or queries regarding access to 7-Zip please email the IT team.
Please note that if audio recordings are being sent to a third party transcriber, the transcriber preferably UK-based to comply with data protection law in the UK. The format of the data (such as the data will be anonymised, encrypted) should be clearly stated in the study protocol and PIS.
Details on data storage must be included in the study protocol and Participant Information Sheet (PIS).
You have access to two data storage areas:
Whilst you are working on or with their projects/data, they can use these two areas to save work – this should give them the freedom to work on their data on personal laptops. The H: drive is accessible remotely via VPN, and ensures data is secure both from a confidentiality and loss perspective. You can access OneDrive directly from their student mailboxes by clicking ‘Office 365' on the top left of the screen. You have 1TB of cloud storage available on OneDrive.
You need to ensure that their research data/files are saved on their H: drive or OneDrive for Business accounts and NOT on personal laptops, removable hard drives or other portable media, or personal cloud-based services (e.g. smartphones back-up etc.). The SGUL H: drive that every SGUL student is given is backed up to a server every night so data is recoverable. Any files containing personal data must be encrypted/password-protected.
Information on OneDrive/Office 365 is automatically saved and backed up. OneDrive for Business is better for anonymised data and collaboration.
The only people able to access files on OneDrive for Business are the owner of the account or named members of their research team they choose to share files with. It is important that data is anonymised before it can be put on OneDrive. No sensitive personal data or patient information should be kept on the university's 365 cloud, including OneDrive for Business, at any time.
Removable media: these include audio recorders and USB devices. If you are collecting data in the field, you can store your data temporarily on removable storage as long as it is password-protected and encrypted. You need to use bit locker for the encryption to able to work on SGUL systems. Data on audio recorders must be kept in a locked, safe place and should be password-protected if your device has this feature. Data should be stored in the device’s physical memory and not on the cloud. Saving identifiable or sensitive research data on the cloud is not permitted under any circumstance. Note that your data is still vulnerable if the removable device is lost or stolen. Ensure that you upload the information to your H: Drive or, if anonymised, OneDrive as soon as possible and delete all information held on the removable drive.
Students sharing data between each other:
Students can email documents or spreadsheets to each other
If the document/spreadsheet contains any personal data, the document will need to be password-protected and then sent, with the password for opening the file sent separately.
If the document contains no personal/sensitive data you can share it directly on Office 365 using OneDrive's sharing and collaboration features.
Support/training with Office 365 is available from our IT Training Manager.
Signed consent forms and other hard data must be stored securely in a lockable cabinet. If the documents are scanned, the originals must be disposed of as confidential waste (blue bin at the University). The scanned copies must be saved in a secure, password-protected University file.
The active digital data (ie data that is still being processed) should be stored on a St George’s University of London network or shared drive, which you will be allocated by Computing Services. As your project develops, you might find you need more storage space. Email the IT/AV team to discuss your needs for more active data storage.
Information on OneDrive/Office 365 is automatically saved and backed up. All network drives, including the SGUL H: drive is backed up to hard disk and then cloned to tape storage server every night. Full backups of all the data are carried out monthly.
The data from the removable media (e. g. data collected from a field site) needs to be moved to SGUL servers for active/long term storage. Please see the SGUL Removable Media policy.
The physical/hard copy data should be stored in securely in locked cabinet (both in the field – if applicable – and for active and long-term storage).
Plans for the retention and/or preservation of the data also need to be specified in the study protocol. You need to identify the strategy for preserving the data during the retention period, including how long and where it will be stored and who will be responsible for the data during this period.
Any plans for data sharing should also be mentioned – with permission to share the data addressed in PIS and Consent form (this is already be included in the existing templates).
The research team should address data quality (identify their quality assurance procedures) and their data organisation and documentation strategy in the data management section of the study protocol. It is an online system that you can use to manage data management plans as part of grant applications.
For more general information/education on data storage you can check the UK Data Service guidance on storing data or SGUL-specific guidance
Data management advice for staff is provided by the SGUL Research Data Management Service please contact the Research Data Management Service they will be happy to help you.
You need to give details on the retention of the following data in the study protocol (SP) and Participant Information Sheet (PIS):
Personal data, participant`s contact details
Personal data such as a participant`s contact details should be kept securely and for as short a period as possible. The data should be securely destroyed/deleted no later than at the point when you do not need to identify the participants anymore (e.g. after data has been cleaned/prepared for analysis and you don`t need to contact the participants anymore).
Consent forms and other hard data must be stored in a lockable cabinet. If you scanned the documents, the originals must be destroyed as confidential waste (blue bin at the University). The student’s supervisor (not the student) is responsible for the storage for student projects. The consent forms should be kept as long as the research data.
Any audio recording should be destroyed as soon as it has been transcribed. The transcripts should be kept as long as the anonymised research data.
All research data should be securely held for minimum 5 years after the study has finished. The student’s supervisor (not the student) will hold the responsibility for the data retention and disposal for student projects during this time.
The student research projects` data retention is the Supervisor responsibility.