FAQs - Research Department

1. What is the role of the Research Department?

 
The Research Department is tasked with:
a. Collecting data relevant to organisational well-being and maintaining accountability
b. Conducting research projects which ensure that interventions follow the newest guidelines
c. Acting as a gateway for external parties to conduct research within Aġenzija Sapport
 
2. If I want to conduct a research about people with disability  but I am not sure about the topic, may I receive suggestions?

 
The Research Department is prepared to provide a few suggested research topics on demand. Contact research.sapport@gov.mt for guidance.
 
3. If I want to conduct a study about people with disability, will I need an easy-to-read format of the questionnaire or documents?

 
Yes, an easy-to-read format is necessary in order to receive approvals for conducting research on people with disability. The easy-to-read format needs to cover not only for visual impairments but for neurodevelopmental disabilities as well.
 
4. Can Aġenzija Sapport guarantee approval for research subjects?

 
No. The Research Department will make efforts to ensure the highest chances at finding research participants, however there are a series of reasons for not being able to collect participants.
a. The research requirements, particularly for participative methodologies, may contain characteristics which are not found amongst our pool of professionals and clients. In that case the research request will result in a ‘refusal’.
b. The research topic may be on a sensitive topic which may discourage participants from contacting the external researcher. The final decision on whether to take part is on the research subjects themselves.
 
5. After receiving the Agency’s approval, how long will I have to wait before recruiting participants?

 
The length of wait depends highly on the willingness of the participants to contribute to the research project. The Research Department is tasked with disseminating the information and consent letter to reach the relevant research target, however, the waiting time is dependent on their time line. The final decision on whether to contact the researcher is on the participants themselves.
 
6. In due process of applying for research at Aġenzija Sapport, will I need to present any other approvals?

 
Yes. Requests coming from university students (Malta or overseas) will need to present a FREC (Faculty Research Ethics Committee) or UREC (University Research Ethics Committee) approval before commencing a study at Aġenzija Sapport.  
  
7. What does conditional approval mean?

 
Conditional approval is equivalent to a temporary approval. It may be dependent on providing additional supporting documentation, or on small changes within the research proposal. The study may not commence until the changes required are effected.
 
8. When is a ‘refusal’ decision handed out?

 
The ‘refusal’ on a research request may appear for a number of reasons:
a. There are no potential participants within the pool of clients and professionals that meet the requirements set out by the research parameters
b. There are severe structural flaws which may result in the need to re-write the entire proposal
c. The proposal raises serious ethical concerns which are not mitigated by any alleviating factors, or is not presented with University / Faculty Research Ethics Committee approval.

 
All motives shall be presented in writing along with the refused research proposal. ​​​
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