Research Ethics and Integrity

Before you commence any data collection involving human participants you will need to complete an ethics approval form(RG1A).

Please note that this form must be completed for any study involving data collection with human participants (i.e., if you plan to hold interviews, conduct surveys, focus groups, observation etc.). The process involved in obtaining Research Ethics clearance is shown below:

  1. The completed form for Research Ethics clearance (RG1A) should be completed at least two months in advance of when you plan to collect data.  The form is normally completed in collaboration with your supervisors, who will give advice if changes are needed.
  2. When an agreed form is produced the supervisor sends a copy and other relevant materials (e.g. information sheets, consent forms, interview questions etc.) to the Chair of the Communication and Media Committee Ethics Committee (Dr Anne Moorhead).
  3. The Communication and Media Research Ethics committee will then review the RG1 ethics form and communicate to the Chair of the supervisory panel and the researcher involved if there are any possible ethical issues with the planned research approach. A Communication and Media Research Ethics Filter Committee meeting is held once a month to consider applications.
  4. The researcher is advised if any changes are needed and given the opportunity to revise and resubmit the form and materials. These are then reconsidered by Research Ethics Committee and normally Research Ethics permission is granted.

Health and Safety

Office Safety

It is everyone’s duty to ensure a safe working environment. Your first point of contact if you have a health and safety query should be your supervisor.

Risk assessments are carried out and updated annually.

First Aid/Defibrillators are available from Security on each campus (extension 22222).

The First Aid contact on the Coleraine Campus is Dr Colm Murphy.

In event of an emergency requiring Police, Fire or Ambulance dial (9)999 directly then contact Security immediately. If working late you should make security aware and let them know when you leave.

Fire Safety

If you discover a fire, you should follow the Fire Safety procedures and activate the alarm immediately using nearest break glass point.

The School of Communication and Media has two Fire Wardens:

Demonstrating and Teaching Opportunities

It is beneficial from a career development point of view for PhD researchers to obtain some teaching experience during their period of study.

The opportunities for teaching will depend to a great extent on the teaching needs within the School of Communication and Media at any given time and PhD researchers’ area of expertise.

All PhD researchers will be asked to record their areas of teaching interest with the Research Director and these details will be forwarded to Heads of Departments for consideration, should any teaching opportunities arise.

Please note:

  • Teaching allocations are at the discretion of Heads of Department and not the Research Director.
  • Full-time funded PhD researchers may only teach a maximum of 6 hours per week.
  • Teaching would involve mostly seminars and to a lesser extent lecturing.
  • Where PhD researchers have been offered teaching, it would be expected that they are provided with teaching support materials where possible.

Thesis Format

Generic guidance on thesis format can be found under the Doctoral College Thesis Format guide.

Submission and viva

Details on processes, including Notification of Intention to Submit, and Approval of Examination Arrangements (including internal and external examiners), can be found on the Doctoral College website:

Thesis requirements

A PhD must make a substantive, original contribution to knowledge, which is embodied within a research study which has both breadth of coverage (e.g. within the context of a literature review or a similar survey of practice) and depth of engagement with a particular problem/issue.

Please read Ulster University PhD Regulations for PhD thesis for further guidance.

In cases for which practice is involved, the length and format may vary. The following are indicative guidelines:

  • Dissertation-only PhD (‘traditional’ form): university guidelines state the maximum word count to be 100,000 words
  • Practice–led PhD (PhD in which practice forms a part of the investigatory process, which is examined for the most part through the dissertation): indicative word count 55,000–80,000 words, plus documentation of practice
  • Practice–based PhD (PhD in which the major contribution is to be found in the portfolio of works, thematically related, illustrated by a supporting thesis): indicative word count 30,000-45,000 words, plus portfolio; see further discussion in PhD With Practice Guidelines

For practice-based PhDs, discussions about the nature and scale of the practice, and the form which its documentation might take, should be discussed with your supervisory team at the earliest possible opportunity, in advance of the initial assessment.

Publishing and your Research Profile

PURE is an online research portal available to all academic and research staff and PhD researchers at Ulster. Your PURE profile is created automatically when you join the University.  You can login to your PURE profile via PURE Support.

PhD Researchers can manage their individual profile by recording research outcomes such as:

  • Research Outputs and Publications
  • Activities
  • Press and Media
  • Datasets
  • Impacts