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Research Department of Sociology Organization of research

Ethical committee

ECS – the Ethics Committee of the Department of Sociology


The Ethics Committee of the Department of Sociology (ECS) provides ethical review for research projects conducted or supervised by department members, and/or involving Sociology students.


The ECS consists of seven fixed staff members. Additionally, two PhD students participate in the ECS activities as advisors. Here follows the composition of the committee:

Ethics Committee

NameJob titleFunction
Bilecen, dr B.Rosalind Franklin Assistant Professor of SociologyMember
Duijn, dr M.A.J. vanAssociate ProfessorChairperson
Giardini, F., PhDAssistant professorMember
Ignatieva, A., MSccounselor
Liu, J.PhD candidatecounselor
Maes, dr M.Assistant ProfessorMember
Ploeg, dr R. van derAssistant professorsecretary
Rengers, J.M.PhD Candidatecounselor
Roos, M., MScLecturerMember


The ECS follows two distinct review procedures: the general procedure for ethical review, and the procedure for the review of Testdays study proposals.

General procedure for ethical review

Upon request of the researcher(s), the ECS reviews research proposals conducted or supervised by members of the Sociology department. The flowchart below illustrates the decision process of the ECS, and how it comes to (conditionally) approve or reject a proposal.

Further below you can find information on how to submit a research proposal, how to structure your submission and how to apply for the quick procedure.

Finally, in the section “Guidelines” you can find a list of codes of ethics on which the ECS bases its decisions.


How to submit a research proposal

Research proposals are to be submitted via EC request ( )

To ensure impartiality of treatment and to allow researchers to incorporate the feedback, the ECS only reviews study proposals if the time between the submission of the proposal and the scheduled start of data collection allows at least one round of review. One round of review takes approximately one month, and the evaluation of a proposal usually takes 2 or 3 rounds.

Usually, the ECS meets every last Tuesday of the month. At this address ( ) you can find the date of the next scheduled meeting of the ECS. If your submission is received 6 or more working days before the ECS meeting, it will be discussed during the meeting; otherwise, the ECS will plan a meeting to discuss the proposal for the following weeks.

Upon reception of the submission, the ECS will archive the research proposal on University servers (specifically in encrypted folders on the Y:\ drive) for future reference. All comments and decisions issued by the ECS, as well as all updated versions of the proposal and its attachments will be archived, too. Only the ECS chair and secretary will have access to the archive.

Following a positive evaluation by the ECS, and after the completion of the data collection, the ECS warmly invites you to send some feedback about problems, strength or improvement points that emerged during the review process and the data collection. You can send your feedback to ecs – it will be valuable for improving our procedures and better informing researchers who will submit new proposals in the future.

Structure of a research proposal

A research proposal submitted for ethical review contains

  • A research protocol including
    - Name(s) of researcher and team members/supervisor(s)
    - Outline of research question and study design
    - Research population
    - Questionnaire(s) and/or other research materials (e.g. vignettes, (computer) tests)
    - If applicable - expected dates for data collection
    - If the proposal is the continuation or variation of an older one, or if part of the questionnaire has already been approved by an Ethics Committee, please provide the relevant details
  • Participant information including
    - Information letter about proposed research, confidentiality issues and data storage/management, voluntary participation, feedback of results
    - Informed consent form
  • Research data management issues including
    - Method of storing digital and physical data, duration of storage,
    - Anonymity, data sharing, and other privacy issues

Quick procedure

This procedure allows a quick evaluation (within 10 working days) of study proposals which satisfy certain conditions.

The quick procedure only applies to study proposals which have a large resemblance to a study proposal already approved by the ECS. Typical examples for study proposals eligible for the quick procedure are replication studies, or studies where the questionnaire includes a couple more items compared to the original study, or with small text changes.

To apply for the quick procedure, follow the submission rules for the general procedure (see above), and indicate that the proposal is submitted for the quick procedure. Please mention the study on which the proposal is based on, and provide the list of changes from the original study.

The ECS will decide whether the research proposal qualifies for the quick procedure.

Procedure for the review of Testdays study proposals

The Testdays are data collection sessions during which first and second year sociology bachelor students join as participants in (pilot) studies conducted by department members. For studies taking part in the Testdays, ethical review by the ECS is compulsory.

Testdays sessions take place twice a year (once in spring and once in fall). In March and September, in occasion of the respective Testdays sessions, the ECS gathers to discuss the research proposals submitted for participation in the Testdays sessions. The proposals are evaluated based on the guidelines listed further below.

Instructions on how to submit a study proposal for a Testday session is sent to every department member some months before the actual sessions. For further information about the Testdays, please contact the Testdays coordinator Aliona Ignatieva (a.ignatieva


The evaluation by the ECS is guided by the following general codes of ethics:


For additional information and for the request of ethical review by the ECS, as well as for the submission of the study proposal to be reviewed, please write to ecs .

For study proposals related to the Testdays, please contact the Testdays coordinator Aliona Ignatieva (a.ignatieva

Last modified:25 May 2020 10.55 a.m.